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FALL 1988 

Volume 9, No. 2 Fall 1988 

bi i iai i 

Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466 - 3193 

Published under the auspices of the provosts office, 
© 1988 governors state university and helen hughes 

ISSN 0736 - 4733 


I lelen E. Hughes, Editor 

Suzanne Oliver, Art Director 

Virginia Eysenbach, Editorial Consultant 

Claudia Snow, Editorial Assistant 

Barbara B. Jenkins, Guest Editor 


Glenda Bailey- Mershon, Illinois NOW/National Organization for Women, Oak Park, IL 

Donna Bandstra, Healthgroup International, Sherman Oaks, CA 

Margaret Brady, Social Sciences, Homewood, IL 

Rev. Ellen Dohner Livingston, Religion, Unitarian Society of Ponoma Valley, CA 

Rita Durrant, League of American Penwomen, Doylestown, PA 

Deborah Garretson, Counseling, Muncie, IN 

Temmie Gilbert, Theatre/Media, Governors State University 

Linda Grace-Kobas, ]oumalism, University of Buffalo, N.Y. 

Harriet Gross, Sociology/Women 's Studies, Governors State University 

Flelene N. Guttman, Biological Sciences, Bethesda, M.D. 

Bethe Hagens, Anthropology, Governors State University 

Barbara Jenkins, Psychology, Governors State University 

Young Kim, Communications Science , Governors State University 

Joan Lewis, Poetry, Barrington, IL 

Betye Saar, Fine Arts, Hollywood, CA 

Terri Schwartz, Psychology, Governors State University 

Sara Shumer, Political Theory, Haverford College, PA 

Lynn Thomas Strauss, Women's Studies: Parenting, Oak Park, IL 

Emily Wasiolek, Literature, Prairie State College, Chicago Heights, IL 


3 Introduction by Barbara B. Jenkins 


5 The Long Road To Equality by Alice Shalvi 

8 The Arab Woman in Israel and the Occupied Territories by Amal Khoury 

10 The Legal Status of the Druze Woman by Shakieb Serhan 

13 Sexual Equality: The Israeli Kibbutz Tests The Theories by Marilyn Safir 

17 Violet Khoury, The First (And Sn Far Only) Arab Woman To Be Mayor: A Disillusioned Fighter For Equality, 

Justice, Women, and Peace by Barbara B. Jenkins 
21 Creating An Oasis of Peace by Barbara B. Jenkins and Nava Sonnenschein 
25 How We Started Our Nursery School: Arab Women's Consciousness Raising Group Opens Doors by Mariam 

27 A Day At The Shelter by Naomi Feigin 
29 Recommended List of Peace and Women's Groups in Israel and Supporting Groups in the United States by 

Barbara B. Jenkins 

31 Additional Recommended Books by Barbara B. Jenkins 

32 Shulamith Koenig 


33 What Ecclesiastes Meant or On The Function of Dreams, Fiction by Esther Wierzbicki-Ziv 

35 Artwork by Arlene Maass 

36 The Stone; Fiction by Shulamit Lapid 

37 Four Poems by Ada Aharoni 

39 A Dream Come True by Magdalena Hafez 

42 Women In Israel: A Bibliograpthy by Barbara Conant 

43 Poster 

44 Editor's Column by Helen E. Hughes 

The Creative Woman is published three times a year by Governors 
State University. We focus on a special topic in each issue, presented 
from a feminist perspective. We celebrate the creative achievements of 
women in many fields and appeal to inquiring minds. We publish 
fiction, poetry, book reviews, articles, photography and original graphics. 

Key to cover photos appears on page 24. 





Barbara B. 

We dedicate this issue of The Creative Woman to 
Eve, the first person to choose the acquisition of 
new knowledge over blind obedience, and to her 
daughters in the Middle East who I hope will 
take a fresh, realistic, and thoughtful look at their 
situation, free from the prison of the old assump- 
tions. Hopefully, in planning for a shared future, 
their judgment will be realistic, just, and infused 
with compassion, empathy, kindness, coopera- 
tion, nurturance, and wisdom, qualities which 
have been associated with women. If they are 
allowed to do this, they will make a unique con- 
tribution and probably ensure our future. At the 
least, they will change the directions of the 
current governments in the region from whose 
leadership they have generally been excluded. 

It was learning about groups which encouraged 
dialogue between the two national groups that 
excited me about taking a sabbatical in Israel. I 
was intrigued with what I had heard about Neve 
Shalom/Wahat al-Salam Village and the work- 
shops they conducted. (They are currently 
nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for their 
creative efforts.) Contrasted with life in the U.S. 
where we often get along by concealing differ- 
ences, at NS/WS they discuss the differences, 
agree to differ, and treat each others' views with 
respect. As a psychologist, leading encounter 
groups for people from different cultures, I was 
fascinated and wanted to see their methods and 
process. I was also curious to learn about the 
lives and experiences of the leaders which en- 
abled them to be independent of the views held 
by members of the mainstream in each of the 

I have also been interested in women's rights 
and issues affecting our lives so when I was 
asked to edit a special issue of TCW on The 

Women of Israel, I was thrilled. Both interests 
dovetailed, and I spent fascinating hours in 
people's homes interviewing them. I am grateful 
to them for their friendship, warmth and open- 
ness. Sometimes I was surprised by what I 
learned as you may be. The material in this 
issue comes from people whose friendship I 
treasure. I hope the Israeli-Palestinian conflict 
will be promptly and justly resolved so that 
these bright, creative people can fulfill their 
dreams and create a better society. 

The major problem is to get people to take a 
fresh look at the situation and to bring to their 
attention that there is a lot they don't know 
about their predicament precisely when they be- 
lieve that they fully understand it. 

What we hope this issue will give you is a new 
or broadened perspective on the situation of the 
women of Israel — that the mosaic of the lives of 
the women, the short stories, poetry, and art can 
help you step beyond familiar history, myths, 
and partial truths, to a clearer perception of what 
life has been like for Jewish and Palestinian 
women living there. Only in having a broader 
perspective and considering the truth of what the 
other person is saying, instead of automatically 
and defensively dismissing the ideas and experi- 
ence as wrong, can creative and realistic solu- 
tions be found. 

Let me give you an example, showing that when 
only part of the story is given, the meaning is 
changed. When I first toured Israel with the 
American Professors for Peace in the Middle 
East, we were told what we as Jews had already 
heard and read — that Jews had used their chari- 
table funds through the Jewish Agency to pur- 
chase land from absentee landlords in Israel on 
behalf of the Jewish people as a whole. All the 
land was legitimately paid for, sometimes twice. 
From some Arab speakers, however, we kept 
hearing that Arab villages had lost most of their 
land. During my six-month stay I kept hearing 
the same Arab claims from many different 
people. I wondered what the truth was. 

Since then I've learned that many Arab villages 
which are still in existence (many no longer 
exist) did lose about sixty eight percent of their 
1947 (pre-State) land through tricky legal means 
or unfair laws. If one learns that there were a 
number of unjust laws used to seize legitimately 
owned land, then the outrage of the Israeli Arab 
citizens at their unjust treatment takes on new 

While Israel has an inspiring Declaration of Inde- 

"The state of Israel. . . will foster the develop- 
ment of the country for the benefit of all its in- 
habitants; it will be based on freedom, justice 
and peace as envisioned by the prophets of 
Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social 
and political rights to all its citizens irrespective 
of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom 
of religion, conscience, language, education, 
culture. . ." (Declaration of Independence of the 
State of Israel, May 14, 1988.) 

Women and the Arab minorities are still not 
treated equally. Israel has no Constitution 
guaranteeing these rights. 

Israel, in its first years as a State, encouraged 

only Jewish immigration. Jews came as refugees 
from Arab countries as well as refugees from the 
Holocaust. With barely any funds they at- 
tempted to integrate the immigrants with varied 
cultures and emotional scars into a new society 
needing housing, jobs, and social institutions. 

One of the first laws of the new State was the 
"Law of Return." All Jews are automatically 
granted citizenship if they ask for it. The emo- 
tional appeal is that never again will Jews be 
persecuted and have no place where they are 
welcome. Priority in jobs, housing, and tax 
exemptions are given to olim, new immigrants. 
This has meant that Israeli Arab citizens have 
done without services as moneys have gone to 
attract and keep olim. They don't have senior 
citizens centers, comparable day-care centers, 
adequate schools and educational opportunities, 
roads, bus service, jobs, and industry in or near 
Arab villages. Arabs are not treated equally 
even when they assume equal responsibilities as 
citizens, as the Druze and Circassians do with 
military service. Their communities do not 
receive a comparable portion of revenues and 
often lack the services and centers listed above. 

In the War of 1948 and the wars that followed in 
1956, 1967, and 1973 Israel's borders increased. 
Some Arabs fled, some were frightened away 
from their homes, and some were expelled. 

Ironically they have been forced to experience 
what Jews prior to Israel's Statehood experi- 
enced; prejudice and persecution wherever they 

The economy has generally been desperate. Last 
year I found that most adults work a job and a 
half to survive. Taxes are high. Life has been a 
crisis. Death through wars has been experienced 
by most families. Many people ask themselves 
whether staying and struggling to create a life 
for their families is worth it. The scars and pain 
are deep, as is the courage and openness of 
many people. A most recent guide to Peace 
Networking in Israel New Outlook magazine 

(Oct. 1987 & Aug. 1988) lists over ninety groups 
concerned with peace, civil rights, civil liberties, 
democracy, equality and pluralism. This illus- 
trates that many Israelis are deeply concerned 
with changing their society in the direction of the 
ideals stated in the Declaration of Independence. 

For most people Golda Meir is probably the first 
image that comes to mind when they think of 
Israeli women. She was the tough-minded 
grandmother who as Prime Minister articulated 
Israel's military and security needs while serving 
homemade cake and giving homey advice. She 
had come to Israel in 1921 as a pioneer and lived 
with her husband Morris at Kibbutz Merhavia. 
She was deeply affected by her early years in the 
Soviet Union and the pogroms, slaughter of 
Jews, she experienced there. She left the security 
of life in Milwaukee in order to build a Jewish 
homeland, sacrificed her marriage for it, and 
later was preoccupied with the rescue of Soviet 
Jews as well as the acquisition of arms during 
her years as Prime Minister. She was never a 
feminist and did not recognize the needs of 
Israeli's Arab citizens. 

I saw tremendous variety in the roles allowed 
and taken by women, especially within the Arab 
communities. Some women prepare food for 
guests, but are not allowed to sit with them. 
They can be found sitting on the floor of their 
kitchens eating with the other female relatives. 
Other women I met dream of becoming physi- 
cians. Some young women at the university said 
they think about not marrying because it is hard 
for them to imagine maintaining their personal 
freedom and professional dreams in the villages 
of their husband. 

Similarly, there is variety in the life styles and 
dreams of Jewish women. The university and 
the city have opened many wonderful possibili- 
ties for them. The development of themselves as 
productive, creative individuals requires 
thoughtfulness and openness. Let us hope that 
their country and society provide all the women 
of Israel with that opportunity. 


For further information on additional recommended reading 
and a list of Peace and Women's groups in Israel and 
supporting U.S. organizations, write to Barbara B. Jenkins, 
Governors State University, University Park, IL 60466. 
Donations to the New Israel Fund ear marked for particular 
groups should be mailed to 111 West 40th St., #2600, New 
York, NY 10018. 





Alice Shalvi 

I met Dr. Alice Shalvi in Chicago when she was on a 
speaking tour sponsored by NIF to reach American Jewish 
woman and affiliate them with the network with Israeli 
women. She is an articulate, vibrant woman who in her 
own life combines feminism with Orthodox Judaism. Dr. 
Shalvi is professor of English Literature at the Hebrew 
University of Jerusalem, chairwoman of the Israel Women's 
Network, a coalition and lobbying group dedicated to 
advancing the status of women in Israel, and principal of 
Pelech, a unique, progressive high-school for girls in 
Jerusalem which combines Jewish and general studies, uses 
innovative teaching methods and promotes democracy in 
the student government. It is one of only two Israeli schools 
officially accredited as experimental. In her article she 
discusses the Israel Women's Network, which sponsored the 
International Conference of Women Writers in 1986 and is 
sponsoring a major international conference on Jewish 
women in November. BBJ 

Regarding the status of women in Israel, as far as 
the laws are concerned, we have a number of ex- 
tremely progressive laws and have had them 
now for a very long time, some for over thirty 
years. For example, an equality of sexes law 
which is roughly equivalent to the ERA which 
we've had since 1951; equal pay for equal work, 
which we've had since the beginning of the 
1950s; and other similar legislation. We also 
have very progressive legislation as far as child 
care is concerned. Every woman who is gain- 
fully employed outside the home for nine 
months before giving birth gets twelve weeks of 
fully paid maternity leave. There are other 
similar benefits for women who are working 
mothers. But where we have not made similar 
progress is where general attitudes are con- 
cerned. Most people still feel that woman's place 

is in the home or, rather, that where there is a 
home with a family, it is primarily the woman 
who is responsible for the care and welfare of the 
home and family. This leads to a situation 
where women who are married, and particularly 
mothers who are employed outside the home — 
as most mothers in the country are — find them- 
selves with a double burden to carry, — that of 
the home and the workplace. As a result, they 
usually opt either for part-time work or very de- 
liberately for employment which does not carry 
with it the same amount of responsibility, such 
as overtime or taking work home or evening 
hours, or additional training, which they actually 
are equipped to perform but which would then 
put an impossible burden on them. So unfortu- 
nately, in spite of our very progressive legisla- 
tion, as yet we have not got equality of opportu- 
nity. We have got equality as far as the books 
are concerned, but in actual fact women are not 
to be found equally with men in top manage- 
ment or, indeed, higher levels of management or 
responsibility. We have comparatively few 
women in positions of political power; only eight 
percent of the members of Knesset, our parlia- 
ment, are women. Fewer than ten percent of the 
members of local government are women. It 
simply is not enough to have progressive legisla- 
tion, we also need to do a great deal to educate 
the public. 

Particularly, we need to educate men to an 
understanding of the need to share in the bur- 
den, in carrying the burden, or the joy, and to be 
equally involved in the home and in the family. 
Only when we have equality within the family 
will we have equality outside it. 

Another aspect of our life which is central in 
determining the respective stages of life for men 
and women, is the defense situation. Although 
women serve in the army, they do not do combat 
duty. Inequality in carrying the burden of 
defense leads not only to a sense of inferiority, of 
inadequacy on the part of women, but also on 
the other hand, in men, to a sense of superiority, 
of machismo — in the sense that they are the ones 
who actually defend and protect the country, 
and protect the female population. That law, in 
addition, excludes women from a really superb 
training ground in management, in decision- 
making, in planning, which is a very important 
area of training. It also excludes women from 
the "old boys" network, which the army consti- 

To help educate women, I founded the Israel 
Women's Network. The Network is a coalition 
of women of all political opinions from left to 
right (not the extreme right), and of various 
degrees of religious commitment and practice. 
All of the women are united in their one goal of 
advancing the status of women by various 
means — whether it's through legislation, or 
through court action, or whether through politi- 
cal action by getting more women elected to 
positions of power. Women need to be part of 
the decision-making system. 

In terms of court actions effecting change of this 
type, two very important court decisions were 
recently handed down. One of them related to 
the election of Leah Shakdiel, two years ago, to 
be a member of the Religious Council of her 
town Yeroham. The religious establishment in 
the country refused to confirm that election and 
it's taken two years of court action for her to be 
confirmed in that position. The High Court also 
ruled, in a recent case, on something that hap- 
pened last September in the Tel Aviv municipal- 
ity where the Municipal Council voted to ex- 
clude women from the Electoral Board that 
appoints the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv. In both 
cases, the courts ruled not only vis-a-vis the 
particular, specific case, but they extended their 
ruling to say that in all bodies that deal with any 
public issue, including the religious issues, there 
must always be due representation of women. 
This we see as a very significant achievement in 
the courts. We also, because of the court action 
about a year and a half ago, succeeded in revis- 
ing the laws of retirement age and introducing a 
law which called for parity in retirement age 
between men and women. Also, as a result of 
our lobbying, we have the most recent amend- 
ment, a very radical amendment, (really a new 
version of the Equality of Opportunity in Em- 
ployment Act) which extends parental leave to 
fathers as well as mothers and extends other 
privileges to fathers, such as the right to take sick 
leave to care for a sick child. We feel that's a 
very significant change towards what we hold as 
our ultimate goal, of having the fathers see 
themselves and be perceived as equal partners in 
homemaking and parenting. 

While there haven't been any court cases with 
respect to domestic violence, there has been a 
very radical change in the attitude of the police 
who used to dismiss complaints that women 
brought against their husbands. We have had a 
number of prosecutions in recent years and that's 
a distinct change. Again, it is a result of a great 
deal of lobbying and education and publicizing 
of the extent of domestic violence. 1 There's 
really been a significant change on that issue, 

also in the way in which rape complaints are 
treated by the police. I think this is really a case 
where education and use of the media to publi- 
cize our stand has been very effective. We have 
been able to get increasing media coverage. At 
the beginning we had a very tough time particu- 
larly with television. There's been a very dra- 
matic change in printed media coverage of 
women's issues from virtually nil, about three or 
four years ago, or at the best coverage on the 
women's page or the home page, to front page 
treatment. For example, both of the High Court 
decisions this week, particularly the Leah 
Shakdiel case, made the front pages of all the 
papers, with very big write-ups, editorials, and 
so on. Television has been slower. We have 
only one channel on our national television 
which is state television and the people in charge 
there are almost exclusively men. Even there, as 
a result of ongoing, very persistent lobbying and 
representation, including requesting a meeting 
which we were granted with the head of televi- 
sion and then with all the heads of all the vari- 
ous departments, we have begun to make a dent. 
Recently there has been far more coverage than 
there used to be of women, and women-related 
issues. It is certainly slower on television, but 
even there we can point to some change. 

With respect to women going in to testify in 
cases of their own divorce, women do testify and 
certainly they appear in the courts in divorce 
cases. Women can't serve as witnesses in the 
rabbinical courts, but actually where divorce or a 
disappearing husband is concerned, even halacha, 
Jewish law, permits women to give evi- 
dence in those specific cases. There has not been 
any problem as far as giving evidence is con- 
cerned. The problems we discerned are primar- 
ily problems of discrimination — differences of 
attitude and degrees of sympathy on the part of 
the rabbinical judges all of whom are men — in 
addressing themselves to men and women 
respectively. There's a greater degree of sympa- 
thy for men who are in trouble than there is for 

In Israel, in the summer of 1984, there was a 
meeting between American and Israeli Jewish 
women. From that dialogue of American /Israeli 
women, the Network grew. It was a very excit- 
ing dialogue in which about twenty women from 
the United Stated including Betty Freidan, Cyn- 
thia Ozick, Elizabeth Holtzman, Blu Greenberg, 
and a number of others took part. It was a very 
fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences. Both 
sides gained a very much needed boost. 

There will be another international meeting on 
the empowerment of Jewish women to which we 
are expecting delegates from about sixty coun- 

tries, including the third world countries and 
Latin America, and Eastern Europe. We are very 
anxious to have contact with women who are 
active in the feminist world in order to learn 
from their experience. We have an overseas 
membership now and anyone who's interested in 
joining us should contact us at POB 3171, Jerusa- 
lem. We are also very much in need of financial 
help and donations can be made through the 
New Israel Fund in New York. 2 We need finan- 
cial support as well as support in the form of 
.advice, help, materials for our resource center. 
We are creating what is becoming the most 
important resource center in terms of library and 
newspaper clippings and other materials. Every 
time I go to the States I come back, as I did this 
time, with armfuls of materials from organiza- 
tions such as NOW or the Women's Political 
Caucus. We can learn a lot from women all over 
the world. We certainly need financial support 
in establishing such services as our legal defense 
fund, in establishing a health education center, 
an area that's very much neglected. Women's 
health is an area where most people, the doctors 
and the patients, are extremely ignorant. We 
could also use help in lobbying various organiza- 
tions abroad to be more involved with women's 
issues in Israel, I'm thinking of organizations 
such as Hadassah, WLZO (Women's International 
Zionist Organization), Pioneer Women, which 
exist in the Diaspora as well as here, and of 
course the Jewish Agency. 

As far as getting women listed in the political 
parties, we're engaged in training the women in 
assertiveness, in self-confidence, in giving actual 
training courses, and other help, such as provid- 
ing fact sheets to candidates on women-related 
issues. We're dealing with the candidates and 
potential candidates on the one hand, and we are 
also lobbying the various parties with a demand 
which has been taken up by all the women's 
organizations here, of whom there are a lot of 
very powerful ones, that each party set aside a 
quota of 40 percent of the places on the lists for 
women candidates. Now the response to that 
has not been much; no party has acceded to the 
40 percent demand, but it has led to more con- 
sciousness of the need to establish some kind of 
quota. Most of the parties are going for 25 per- 
cent, which certainly would be better than what 
we've had in the past. 3 

We are also conducting consciousness-raising 
programs. We have meetings all over the coun- 
try, simply to inform women of the major issues 
that need to be addressed, how they can be 
addressed, what needs to be done, and how it 
can be done. Consciousness-raising is very 
important, as well as the development of skills, 
particularly this electoral year. We're also en- 

gaged in health education, teaching women how 
to speak to doctors, and what they have a right 
to expect in the way of health care. On the legal 
issues, we're engaged in educating women on 
what their rights are. We run a hot line on dis- 
crimination in the workplace and also a hot line 
for health problems. And both of those serve as 
educational services as well. 

Israeli Arab women are members of the Net- 
work, so they are equal members. We have a 
number of joint functions; we had a symposium, 
with four Arab women participating, on "Arab 
Women in Israel." In most cases, because they 
live in separate communities, they prefer to set 
up their own framework. We do collaborate 
with them and we work on ad hoc alliances and 
networking. We have had a lot of cooperation 
with Arab women here. There were also some 
contacts between some individual members and 
Palestinian Arab women, the Palestinian women 
living in the Occupied Territories, in the past, 
but those certainly are not being conducted at all 
publicly or formally in the current situation. 

I think we're optimistic. We're hoping for a 
significant change, certainly in attitudes, and if 
we don't do as well as we hope in this election, 
then in four years' time we hope we'll do better. 

Footnotes for Alice Shalvi article added by Barbara B. 

1 To give you an idea of the magnitude of the problem I 
read a statistic a couple years ago in a New Israel Fund 
newsletter that there were estimates of 20,000 battered 
Israeli women out of a population of four million. — BBJ 

2 Overseas membership, which is tax deductible through 
the New Israel Fund, is $25. 

3 Alice's hopes for more women listed by the political 
parties for the Knesset were not realized this time. 
Neither of the two major parties - - Labor on the left and 
Herut(part of the Likud) block on the right - - had 
adequate numbers of women. 

The revolution seems to have passed over the Labour 
Party's women's faction altogether, which remained 
small. In view of the party's past historical accomplish- 
ments and its efforts to produce an authentic list 
representing all sectors of Israeli society, it is somewhat 
absurd that women comprise less than 10 percent of its 

The Jerusalem Post, June 25, 1988 

The Herut list (merged with Liberals and two smaller 
parties to form Likud list) contains not a single woman 
or non-Jew in what are considered electable places. 

The Jerusalem Post, July 16, 1988 


Amal Khoury 

Amal Khoury received her degree in law from Hebrew 
University. As an advocate, she has handled cases for Arab 
and Jewish women. She requested to be a judge on the 
Shalom Court, the lower court, to handle civil and criminal 
cases. She has a daughter, Marianna, who is two and a 
newborn son. She received feelers from three political 
parties to be listed, but declined the opportunities to run for 
the Knesset this time around because she wants to be with 
her family in the new year, and she has her law office, her 
job. She said that maybe she would be interested in being 
listed in the next election or the election in eight years. I 
said that I was hoping she would run for the Knesset this 
year and that she would bring her babies with her. I 
imagined her giving them to colleagues to play with while 
she made speeches and telling unruly members to behave 
themselves in front of children. We laughed, and she said it 
was a good opinion. 

Her husband, Geries, is a Melkite Catholic priest who is also 
a developmental, school, and clinical psychologist. BBJ 

The Arab woman has the same problem as 
women all over the world. Society does not 
accept her unless she is married. And if she's 
married and has children, she has to find a job 
suitable for her role as mother/ wife, which 
means only four or five possible hours a day out 
of the house. 

The solution is two-fold: to receive more under- 
standing and help from the husband and to get 
more assistance from the state — to provide day- 
care centers with good teachers and provisions 
for Arab children. In Nazareth and Kfar Yasif 
there are day-care programs, but not in many 
other villages. Many mothers with young chil- 
dren leave their babies in private houses. We do 
this with Marianna. 

Arab women are doubly discriminated against — 
by men and by Jews. The discrimination in the 
Arab sector is the most difficult obstacle to over- 
come. The Arab man is educated to be the 
authoritative one, and the woman to be the 
helper. The problem is also with the woman 
herself. She is educated to be passive. It's easier 
for her to let the man (her father, her husband, 
her brothers) decide for her. My women col- 
leagues' political and career aspirations are often 
not taken seriously. When and if they do finally 
assume some sort of role in the Jewish state, the 
women are mere "decorations" rather than 
decision-makers with a real chance of influencing 

Geries and Amal Khoury 

society. In addition to the social and ideological 
barriers that discourage Arab women from 
participating in politics, the practical problem of 
balancing career and family seems more difficult 
for them than for their Jewish counterparts, due 
to pressure to marry early, have many children, 
and raise them at home (due to the paucity of 
day-care options). 

For a woman to achieve a position of power she 
must be twice as good and work twice as hard as 
a man. To play politics women must learn the 
rules of the game. They have to become edu- 
cated, take advantage of their rights and get 
involved. I claim that women who do not be- 
long to a political party cannot on their own 
power be elected to the Knesset. This is the 
major problem. We have women who are quali- 
fied to serve as Knesset members. The problem 
is which political party or group women should 
choose to participate in. There are women in the 
Arab sector who can do it. The proof of this 
analysis is that no woman was ever elected to 
municipal or national office with the exception of 
one woman, Violet Khoury, my aunt, who was 
elected as head of the municipal government of 
Kfar Yasif. I believe people like me need to be 
inside. If we give up, all the extremists will win. 
On the other hand, Like every other Arab, I can't 
feel comfortable participating in the political 
institutions of the state as long as Palestinians 
suffer. Although we care about the state and its 
defense, we can't forget that we are Palestinians. 

The next obstacle is the position of the Arab 
minority in the State of Israel. We know in 
general that Arabs have difficulty in being 
elected to the Knesset or to public office. We are 
in a very sensitive position as far as the Palestin- 
ian-Israeli conflict is concerned: there are those 
who define themselves as Palestinians and citi- 
zens of Israel, and there are others who define 
themselves as Israeli citizens without indicating 

that they belong to the Palestinian people. 

To belong to a Zionist party that proclaims the 
right of return only for Jews is a little difficult 
since it is also possible for us to make the same 
claim. If the Jews have a right to return, after 
2,000 years in the Diaspora, in exile, we can 
extend the same right to Palestinians who have 
been gone since 1948. A solution would be for 
them to come back to the new state if it will be 
established in Gaza or the West Bank and /or to 
pay them compensation for the loss of property 
here in Israel. So in this regard, it is difficult to 
find a Jewish- Arab political party that recognizes 
this principle of claims. What is left is to choose 
a non-Zionist political party. However, no such 
party has so far existed in Israel. There is a 
recent attempt by an Arab Knesset member, MK 
Abd-el Wahab Darousha, to establish a purely 
Arab party, the Arab Democratic Party. It is just 
starting and will require a lot of effort to prove 
itself, nor do I know if it will be possible in the 
future for this party to fulfill the hopes of the 
Arabs in Israel. I hope it will. 

The position of the Arab woman in the Territo- 
ries is somewhat different from those in Israel in 
that on one hand she is saved from the conflict of 
trying to live a common life that includes Jews 
and Arabs. As far as we are concerned, as Arabs 
living in Israel, we must live in a situation of 
coexistence and mutual respect. In the Territo- 
ries Arabs can deny the idea of annexation or the 
idea of a common destiny between them and the 
Jews living in the Territories. On the other hand, 
right now they are under very difficult condi- 
tions because of the Intifada , the Uprising. 
Women are forced to go into the streets to pro- 
tect the children on the way to school and so 
they don't get arrested in the middle of the 
night. In my opinion they are engaged in a day 
to day struggle for existence so that women in 
the Territories nowadays are in a position of 
being very active and aggressive. In my opinion 
the women and children run the Intifada because 
the men are not allowed to engage in political 
activities and are busy supporting the family 
while quite a few youths are already under 
arrest. So the women carry all the burden and 
responsibility since they are in a position to do 
so. In my opinion since the women in the Terri- 
tories have the major responsibility, they should 
be recognized, respected, and given credit for 
their activities. 

Translated from the Hebrew by Samir Miari, Ph.D. and 
Efraim Gil, Ph.D. 



Shakieb Serhan* 

* Mr. Shakieb Serhan, advocate (attorney), is a Druze from 
Moghar village in the Galilee living in Jerusalem. He 
received his first (bachelors) degree in law from Hebrew 
University and has continued there for his second (masters) 
degree in law which he expects to receive next year. He has 
been the Parliamentary Assistant to MK Zaidan Atashi, one 
of two Druze members of the Knesset (Israeli parliament). 
He has been an Arab leader of Arab-Jewish dialogue groups 
at Hebrew University, an active member in the Association 
for Civil Rights in Israel, and a member in the Israel 
Interfaith Committee. He had been a trainee at Neve 
Shalom /Wahat al-Salam. He plans to come to the U.S. for 
his third degree (doctorate) in law. 


According to an Israeli document, Statistics Data, 
published by the Office of the Prime Minister, 
Statistics Division, Jerusalem, 1987, Israel's non- 
Jewish population is 792,000; 77% are Moslem, 
13.5% are Christians, and 9.5% are Druze. 

The Druze in the Middle East live in the north of 
Israel, Lebanon and Syria. It is not uncommon 
for Israeli Druze families to have relatives in 
Lebanon and Syria. 

There are about 60,000 Druze who are Israeli 
citizens who live in villages on the Carmel range 
(near Haifa) and in the Galilee area, where 
settlements date back some 800 years, and an- 
other 15,000 non-citizens on the Golan Heights in 
what had been Syria. 

The Druze people are a religious sect, and have 
not developed themselves as a nation. There is 
no unified opinion about the time of the origin of 
the religion. Some historians claim that the 
Druze religion separated from Islam in the tenth 
century during the Fatimic period in Egypt. 
Others, with a historical and theological point of 
view, claim that the Druze religion and people 
have existed from the beginning of time. The 
details of the Druze religion are kept secret. 
Only the most well-informed Druze (okkal) , as 
opposed to the uninformed (gohall ) , are entitled 
to study the religious books. 

Intermarriage between a Druze and a non-Druze 
is forbidden. In a case of intermarriage, the 
social punishment is exile from the Druze com- 
munity. A person who was born to Druze 
parents isn't allowed to convert from his Druze 
religion to another religion. Non-Druze can't 
convert to the Druze religion. Druze are a closed 

Shakieb Serhan 

In this article I will discuss the status of the 
Druze woman according to the personal (family) 
laws of the Druze. Israel does not have a 
Constitution and the laws pertaining to personal 
(family) matters have been left to the control of 
the individual religions. 

Eligibility to Marry 

A Druze girl must be age 17 before she is permit- 
ted to marry the boy of her choice. He must be 
at least 18 years old. An exception may be made 
by the Cadi madhab (religious leader) who has 
the authority to permit the marriage of a 15 year 
old girl if (a) there is a medical report proving 
she has reached puberty and (b) there is agree- 
ment of her guardian. The marriages of 15 year 
old girls occur in Lebanon and Syria. In Israel 
the civil court is authorized to permit marriage 
only after the girl is age 16. 

In principle there is a prohibition against the 
marriage of a girl with a mental deficiency or a 
contagious disease (i.e., venereal disease, lep- 
rosy), but in practice this prohibition is not 
enforced. No medical exam is required before 

Prohibitions in Marriage 

The marriage of a woman during the period of 
edda (a four month period of time a wife should 
wait after the divorce or death of her husband) is 
null and void. Polygamy is forbidden. A di- 
vorced woman cannot remarry her previous 
husband. A woman is forbidden to marry a 
blood relative of hers or of her previous hus- 
band. The term blood relative applies to her 
father, grandfather, brother, uncle, brother's and 
sister's sons and brother's and sister's son's 
child, sons, and grandchild. Among her 
husband's relatives are included her brother-in- 
law, father-in-law, the sons of her husband from 
a previous marriage. 

Marriage Contract 

The marriage is a contract between husband and 
wife, and demands absolute agreement from 
both parties. The contract has to be drawn up in 
writing before witnesses acceptable to the couple. 
The period of the contract begins on the day of 
its being drawn up. During the period of the 
marriage each side is obligated to respect the 
other on the basis of absolute equality. 


Engagement is the period before marriage when 
each is permitted to become familiar with the 
characteristics of the other. They are not permit- 
ted to socialize before engagement. The engage- 
ment period provides a source of ultimate secu- 
rity for the marriage since each side is permitted 
to renege on the marriage. If her betrothed 
changes his mind, she does not have to return 
the engagement gift. While I don't have fixed 
data I believe that it rarely happens that a fiance 
changes his mind. The main purpose of engage- 
ment is to know deeply each other. If one 
reaches the decision that the other doesn't "fit", 
then the engagement will be broken. 


The husband is required to provide for his wife 
and family the food, clothing, dwelling, medical, 
and household help in the event that his wife is 
physically unable to see to household duties 
herself, or has a particularly respectable status to 
uphold. The maintenance fees will be decided 
according to mutual agreement between the 
spouses. If no agreement is reached, it becomes 
the decision of the Cadi Madhab. If the husband 
does not pay the fees, or disappears, the wife is 
permitted to borrow money, and the husband is 
responsible to cover the debt. 


The marriage contract can be broken only if the 
Cadi Madhab issues a divorce decree. The 
husband may not divorce his wife without her 

consent. The consent of both parties is required 
for marriage, and consequently also for divorce. 
A divorced woman may never remarry her 
previous husband. The justification for divorce 
is (a) marital infidelity, (b) leaving home with the 
absolute intention of not coming back, (c) suffer- 
ing from mental illness, etc. If there is no justifi- 
cation for divorcing, the woman is entitled to 
receive compensation for financial, moral, mate- 
rial damages, and defamation of her reputation. 
A significant change in the Druze personal laws, 
in comparison to other Semitic religions, is that 
the Druze woman has the right to divorce her 
husband under certain conditions: if, for ex- 
ample, the husband suffers from mental illness, 
leprosy, impotence, if he has served five years or 
more of a ten year jail sentence, if there is a 
prolonged disappearance, or if the wife is re- 
volted by her husband. 

Divorce rarely occurs in the Druze community. 

Custody of Children 

According to Israeli law the husband and wife 
are the natural guardians of the children. In the 
event of the death of one of them, the survivor is 
the natural guardian. Generally, according to 
personal and traditional laws, the custody agree- 
ment must take into consideration the good of 
the child. In the case of divorce the period of 
maintenance of the children by the mother ends 
when the child reaches the age of seven for boys 
and nine for girls. At those ages the father is 
obligated to receive the children. 

The Court will decide with whom the children 
live and on visitation rights. A woman can be a 
Cadi Madhab . 

Child Maintenance 

The father is responsible for paying for the 
maintenance of his children until they reach the 
age of eighteen for boys and until they marry for 
girls. In the event of the death of the father, or if 
he is unable to support them, the responsibility 
falls on the mother. If neither is able to support 
the children, the responsibility falls on blood 
relatives in accordance with the order of inheri- 
tance rights within the family. 

Parents' Maintenance 

The responsibility for providing for indigent 
parents falls on the child with means, without 
consideration of age or sex. In the event that 
there are no children with means, the responsi- 
bility falls on relatives according to the order of 
inheritance rights. 

Wills and Inheritance 

The Druze woman is entitled to will her estate to 
anyone she so desires, even outside of the Druze 
community. On the other hand she is able to in- 


herit together and equally with her brothers. 
The equalitarian approach with respect to inheri- 
tance rights in the personal laws of the Druze is 

outstanding and well accepted. 


It is clear according to the personal laws of the 
Druze that in certain areas there is a completely 
equalitarian approach to the Druze woman and 
her rights: property, cultural, civil, and social. 
She is the sole determiner of whether she wishes 
to utilize her right to divorce her husband. She 
is entitled to receive maintenance from her 
husband for herself and her children. She re- 
ceives custody of the children, and her male 
children are obligated to support her in the event 
that her husband is unable to do so. In these 
circumstances it is clear that there is a leaning in 
her favor in terms of family obligations. In terms 
of marital rights there is also a leaning in her 
favor. The Druze community can be proud of 
these achievements since it has surpassed other 
modern societies by thousands of years. (Mr. 
Serhan believes that the Druze religion has 
existed from the beginning of time, and its 
principles are unchangeable.) 


We see a similarity between the rights given 
Druze women and the practices of ancient pre- 
patriarchal peoples. Both recognize women as 
individuals with specific guaranteed rights. This 
is in contrast with the Babylonians and Canaan- 
ites who considered women as property. Later 
on, the Greeks considered a woman as inferior to 
a man in every respect — only fit to serve him 
and bear his children. 

The rights given the Matriarchs of Israel by the 
Hurrian people, who lived north of Canaan in 
what is now Israel, included: 

l.The view of women as individuals with minds 
of their own and with guaranteed specific rights; 

2.The right to choose whom they would marry — 
at least giving assent to a marriage proposal; 

3.The right to change the inheritance or alter it; 

4.Protection against divorce and protection of 
their children to inherit even if they are not first- 

5.They are capable of talking with God who is 
willing to discuss with them matters of interest 
to them. 

6.And God tells the husband to listen to his wife. 

Interestingly, the Druze live in the same geo- 
graphic area. Since the view of women and their 
rights held by the Hurrians was in sharp contrast 

Druze girls, Yarka 

with the view held by other tribes in the region 
which perceived women as property and inferior 
to men, it may be that the Druze descended from 
or were strongly influenced by the Hurrian 
people, a people more ancient than the Jews, 
who contributed the four Matriarchs of Israel. 
Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel brought to the 
Jewish people from their experience in the 
culture of their birth a perception of themselves 
as strong, assertive, capable of independent 
judgment, worthy of self respect, holding specific 
rights, and men's equal with respect to commu- 
nicating with God. 

Further evidence from tablets at Elam reveals 
that as late as 2000 B.C.E. descent was still 
matrilineal. A married woman might refuse to 
make her bequest jointly with her husband and 
pass her entire property on to her daughter. 
Humane customs and laws, such as the require- 
ment that those in need be helped by the com- 
munity, also date back to the pre-patriarchal so- 
cieties. Sumerian tablets record that Nidaba the 
Goddess was known as "Giver of Law," "Giver 
of Justice," and "Giver of Mercy." There may 
have been an early codification of laws, and 
possibly a judicial system of some complexity in 
which Sumerian priestesses perhaps adjudicated 
disputes and administered justice. "Archaeologi- 
cal records of the Middle Eastern city of Nimrud. . 
show that. . . some women still served as 
judges and magistrates in courts of law." 
(Source: Riane Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade, 
1987.) Is the remarkable equality provided to 
Druze women a relic of an earlier codification, 
dating from pre-patriarchal times? In the cradle 
of civilization, was God a woman? BBJ & HEH 

(Source: Sondra Henry and Emily Taitz (1983) Written Out 
Of History: Our Jewish Foremouthers.) 


Marilyn Safir 

Dr. Safir, a clinical psychologist, has been one of the leaders 
of the women's movement in Israel since the early 1970s. 
The seminars which she offered were well attended by Arab 
and Jewish women. Since then she has established an 
excellent Women's Studies Program at Haifa University 
which she is trying to broaden by founding a Women's 
Center to address the needs of disadvantaged Arab and 
Jewish women who might never attend a university. Kidma 
(Project for the Advancement and Involvement of Women) 
aims to accelerate the process of women's advancement by 
involving her in the Israeli community and society and 
strengthening her self image and motivation. This creative 
outreach program could dramatically improve the status of 
women in Israel; bringing in those most likely to be shut 
out. She desperately needs outside funding for this effort. BBJ 

Is human nature biologically determined or is 
human behavior determined basically by envi- 
ronmental influences? This old question can be 
discussed by reflecting on some of the research 
of Israeli women living in kibbutzim. The coun- 
try of Israel is unique in that people from diverse 
cultures and ethnic groups founded and settled 
there. The position of women in Israel has been 
a focus of study by social scientists in more 
recent years. 

Konrad Lorenz's studies (1963-66) on the evolu- 
tion of the behavior of animals has influenced 
psychologists and sociobiologists. Social struc- 
tures such as are found on the kibbutz are inter- 
preted by Tiger and Shepher (1975) as biologi- 
cally programmed. Biological differences are 
seen as causing different behavior in men and 
women, i.e., woman as nurturer and man as 
hunter, provider. A reanalysis of data from the 
kibbutz by Spiro (1980) leads him to believe 

there are inborn differences between men and 

On the other hand, this view is not held to be 
valid by proponents of the view that human 
behavior is flexible and not linked to human 
biology. The importance of the environment in 
pre- and post-natal life is, according to John 
Money (eg., 1963, 1970), a determining factor in 
the development of male/ female behavior. In 
fact, a study done by Money and Ehrhardt (1974) 
found that boys and girls raised opposite to their 
gender displayed behavior of the sex in which 
they were raised. The psychosocial environment, 
they concluded, greatly influences sexual identi- 
fication and behavior. For the most part, Mac- 
coby and Jacklin (1974) have concluded that sex 
differences in regard to skills, interests, and 
activities are fiction and unsupported by research 

The collective life on a kibbutz, a unique way of 
life, inspired Tiger and Shepher to ask: 

What happens to women who entrust their 
children's care to communal nurseries from the 
age of two to six weeks on? What happens to 
women who are supported not by the husbands, 
but by the collective to which they belong? To 
women whose communities are ideologically 
devoted to equality and for decades have 
stressed the ideal of sexual equality?. . . To 
women whose food is cooked in communal 
kitchens and whose clothing is cleaned in com- 
munal laundries? 

These questions are asked by scientists who see 
the kibbutz as a social experiment in which the 
person's relationships to money and position, 
social equality and relationships in the family are 
all changed. 

These authors concluded that the experiment 
failed to ensure the sexual equality of women. 
They blame this result on women's innate na- 
ture, implying that the female biological pro- 
gramming is the cause of the failure. Studies 
show that life for women on kibbutzim has 
steadily become more traditional no matter what 
opportunities are offered. Kibbutz women per- 
form increasingly more service jobs from one 
generation to the next and want to be involved 
in the raising of their children. More than ever 
before mothers are bringing their children into 
the home rather than having them stay at the 
children's houses. 

The failure in kibbutzim to establish sexual 
equality is noted by Tiger and Shepher who 
noted extreme polarization of labor by sex over 
four generations of kibbutz members. Polariza- 
tion is worse for those who have always lived in 
the kibbutz as compared to those who joined as 


Men primarily perform jobs in agriculture, 
management, and industry whereas women who 
have agricultural jobs are given the "easier" jobs. 
This is also true of women's jobs in industry 
where administrative tasks include the routine 
jobs of typist, clerk, and secretary. 

The majority of the jobs in service and education 
are held by women; work with infants and 
preschoolers is exclusively done by women. 
What jobs men do have in education are as 
teachers; they are never child care workers. 
Cooking, child care in the children's houses, 
laundry are all exclusively women's jobs. Men 
who perform service jobs do maintenance work. 

Usually few women are active in politics, man- 
agement of kibbutzim, or initiate and manage 
inter-kibbutz activities. Men do jobs that are tra- 
ditionally women's only when they are older and 
less productive. The women who work in 
traditional men's jobs leave the job when their 
first child is bom. 

The conclusions that Tiger and Shepher (1975) 
reach are a point of contention in their study. 
They state that the kibbutzim's failure to estab- 
lish sexual equality is the result of the innate 
biological nature of women. 

But was this "social experiment" adequately 
designed? To understand it we must examine 
the social environment in which the kibbutzim 
developed and we must study the history of the 
kibbutz as an ideal, a dream of the ghettos of 
Eastern Europe in the early years of this century. 

The kibbutz was originally visualized as a means 
of self-determination within a socialist communal 
structure. Zionist groups planned to return to 
the motherland and live in communal Utopias. 
They aspired to create a society in which all 
would be equal, where people would be sup- 
plied according to their needs, where the group 
would be more important than the individual. 
Traditions such as marriage and family ties were 
considered reactionary and rejected as a threat to 
the common good. 

In the early kibbutzim marriage and child bear- 
ing were prohibited (Talmon, 1972; Shepher, 
1968). Couples were expected to refrain in 
public from acting any different towards each 
other than they did towards anyone else. 
Couples never worked together or took time off 
together. These rules were especially necessary 
since in the early days of kibbutz life men out- 
numbered women two to one. Other prohibi- 
tions of family ties were deeply rooted on the 
structure of kibbutz life. 

Kibbutzim were not only agricultural societies 
but also military posts for defense of self and 
country in a hostile environment: 

"Each new settlement marked a further 
step into more outlying and more arid 
regions. . . the kibbutzim overcame al- 
most insurmountable difficulties by 
channeling most of their labor and capital 
into production. Centralized communal 
organization of the non-productive 
branches of the economy enabled them to 
reduce investment in these spheres . . ." 
(1972: 5) 

Even though there was a desperate need for 
women workers to do what was traditionally 
men's work, early women settlers had to over- 
come male prejudice to be allowed to do men's 

The Zionist women's movement was analyzed 
by Daphna Izraeli (1981) revealing early concepts 
prevalent in Palestine from 1911-1927. The fol- 
lowing were attitudes about sexual equality at 
that time: 

"Labor Zionism was ideologically commit- 
ted to social equality and did not concern 
itself with the issues of women's emancipa- 

These early pioneers to Palestine had to over- 
come physical and mental barriers: 

"The move to Palestine required determi- 
nation and idealism from all the immi- 
grants, but even more so from the women. 
They had to combat the traditionally 
stronger social control exerted by parents 
over daughters, the stigma attached to a 
single woman leaving home, especially in 
the company of a group of men, as well as 
the physical hardship of the passage itself. . . 
they did not expect to struggle for 
women's places, they thought equality 
would be an accompanying feature of their 
move to the new homeland." (Izraeli, 

When the women reached Palestine their most 
urgent need was for employment. The Jewish 
farmers that were already established in Pales- 
tine ostracized these women because of their 
willingness to do men's work which was seen as 

Early pioneers were additionally hampered by 
not having the skills for agricultural living. 
These settlers moved to the unsettled north, es- 
tablishing a communal life where everyone 

The settlers had to do two things. First, they had 
to conquer the land to become self-sufficient. 
These young idealists, none of whom were edu- 
cated for their agricultural labors and with their 
idealism about equality intact, divided the work 
so that women were assigned to domestic labor 

while men did the productive work. Both men 
and women assumed without question their 
traditional roles. 

Ironically, the women were little prepared for 
domestic work. Most of them came from fami- 
lies where servants did this work. Eventually 
they became frustrated with the male attitudes 
that claimed they were unfit for men's work. 

The gap in ability widened between the two 
sexes as men received more training from Pales- 
tinian agronomists. The vanguard group had to 
prove that the commune was economically 
viable. Viewing women as less productive, they 
feared that their participation in agriculture 
would result in a deficit, and so women were 
confined to more 'suitable' jobs. The same men 
who had demanded that the farmers of the first 
wave overlook economic considerations on 
ideological grounds and preferred them to Arab 
laborers, accepted only one to three women into 
a group with up to 30 male members on the 
grounds that women were economically less 

Since there were so few women to do domestic 
work, it was impossible for them to be rotated 
out of their service jobs, alternating between 
house and field work. In 1912 only thirty 
women of 522 Jewish laborers were working in 
communes. By WWI this number rose to 1,500 
workers and 200 were women, an increase of 13 

Although domestic work was physically difficult, 
the status jobs were those held by men. Their 
work was considered productive whereas do- 
mestic services were viewed as non-productive. 
Of the service jobs, cooking was considered of 
higher value than other service jobs, but ranked 
lower than any of the jobs men did which were 
considered productive. 

Production of field crops had the highest status 
since it led to economic independence. This 
pioneering ideology led to the exclusion of 
women from primary roles in commune life. 
Three issues were the focal points for dissatisfac- 
tion among the women: status, participation, 
and attitudes among workers. So totally were 
women shut out of the decision process by their 
low status that Zionist Organization contracts 
were negotiated yearly without their input. Men 
reasoned that the women were working, not for 
the Zionist Organization, but for the men. 

Women resented this male attitude which de- 
prived them of an equal partnership in work and 
decision-making. Women were further excluded 
by the fact that they didn't know Hebrew, the 
official language of the Diaspora and the early 

In spite of the discouraging situation, the women 
were hopeful of change. Women felt that with 
training in manual labor, they could perform as 
well as the men. They felt they would be able to 
outgrow their passive dependent behavior as 
their confidence grew in their ability. (Izraeli, 

Furthermore, women noted that to achieve 
economic equality, they must also forego, as 
much as possible, wearing feminine clothing and 
jewelry, and using cosmetics. Any outward 
feminine appearance calling attention to sexual 
differences was interpreted as female and infe- 

Joseph Baratz (1954) makes reference to these 
struggles. He reported that all the men worked 
happily from the beginning, but the women were 
not happy: 

"One day they came to us and said, 'Listen 
to us. We came to this country with the 
one idea in our heart — to work and to live 
with nature. But what now? You men are 
happy, you like your work, but we are 
worse off than our mothers were in their 
small towns. What do you yourselves 
think of it? Should we continue in this 
way, with this difference between your lot 
and ours?' We couldn't understand them. 
How else could it be? But our women 
gave us no rest. They insisted that things 
must change. In the end, the women won 
the right to work the land, and even to 

The women pioneers of the third wave (1919 to 
1923) had been brought up in and by the Russian 
Revolution at a time when women were occupy- 
ing important economic and cultural positions. 
Miriam Schlimowitch (Shazar, 1975) described 
her bitter disappointment when she perceived 
how small the role was for the women and how 
weak their influence on the common life. The 
women formed their own communes; there was 
even a farm, completely run by women, carrying 
on without male help on their own initiative and 
doing as well as the men. She writes, "But in 
spite of all the hardships and suffering, the work 
had life and content. . . Before long, our settle- 
ment had made a name for itself as a model 
farm. The women believed in themselves and in 
the path they were making for the women of Pal- 

The feminization process on the kibbutz began 
with the communal care of children, with child- 
rearing an exclusively feminine job, and as 
more children were born in the kibbutz, the 
process by which women left production jobs to 
lower-status service jobs accelerated. 


Today, most women in the kibbutz work in jobs 
that are analogous to traditional housework. As 
an alternative to Tiger, Shepher, and Spiro's 
conclusions, we can hypothesize that with this 
movement to nurturant roles, a certain cognitive 
dissonance came into play. To justify the time 
absorbed by childcare tasks, women themselves 
began to increase their identification with tradi- 
tional feminine roles by giving them more posi- 
tive, attractive images. Kibbutz women who are 
unsuccessful in reducing their dissonance by 
increasing the values of their work should theo- 
retically experience psychological distress. This 
is what has in fact happened. Talman (1972) 
found that women were more likely than men to 
leave the kibbutz, were more likely to be dissatis- 
fied with their jobs, and experienced more stress. 
While social and sexual equality was an ideal, 
the planning to create the necessary conditions 
for equality was not developed. The female 
pioneers had to fight to gain equal standing in 
the kibbutz, and psychological barriers to equal- 
ity persisted. 

Current awareness of these pressures is growing. 
For example, the Kibbutz Artzi Movement 
passed a resolution in 1980 encouraging men to 
fill 20 percent of the jobs in early childhood 
education. Sex typing of jobs will also decrease 
when work that has little intrinsic interest (i.e., 
laundry, dining hall service, clothing warehouse) 
is really temporary and all members rotate 
through them for short periods. Finally, when 
women and men are psychologically free and 
able to move into what were considered mascu- 
line or feminine jobs according to interest and 
not sex, the goal of sexual equality will be 

Israel has a particularly strong need for educa- 
tion in Womens' Studies. Outside the country's 
borders, people think of Israel as the epitome of 
women's rights because of women's participation 
in the army, myths about the kibbutz women 
and the election of Golda Meir as Prime Minister. 
Inside Israel myths also exist. Women are still 
unaware that inequalities in educational and 
occupational opportunities persist. 

Some examples from contemporary Israeli life 
point to the reality behind the myths: 

^Research studies suggest that discriminatory 
attitudes and practices in Israel affect children 
from a early age. Safir (1986) and Lieblich (1984) 
found that young Israeli girls do not perform as 
well as their male counterparts on intelligence 
tests. Furthermore, discrepancies in scores show 
up at an earlier age in Israel than in the United 
States. When such discrepancies appear in the 
United States, young males score higher on 
performance and math tests, while young fe- 

males score higher on verbal tests. In Israel, 
however, males scored higher in both areas. In- 
vestigators believe this may result from teachers 
(and parents) reinforcing male academic progress 
over female. Without stimulation for education, 
women will be forced to remain at a distinct 
disadvantage in modern society. 

"Inequalities in the Workplace: In Israel, women 
comprise 38% of the workforce. While the 
majority of women work part-time, 76% of 
women with more than 16 years of education 
work full-time. Women have not always enjoyed 
equal protection under the law. For example, 
women have higher than average level of educa- 
tion but earn less for the same jobs than men. 
Until April 1, 1988 (in the adoption of wide 
ranging equal opportunities at work law) women 
were not allowed to work at night unless the 
employer fulfilled certain requirements, usually 

involving additional expenses. As a result, 
women were discriminated against in certain 
fields of work. 

Undoubtedly, the position of women in Israel is 
also influenced by the status of women in tradi- 
tional Judaism. The "woman of valor" is por- 
trayed as focusing her efforts on housekeeping 
and child care. However, economic and attitudi- 
nal changes have caused more and more reli- 
gious women to enter the workforce and to 
expand their horizons in Jewish study. 

Adapted from a chapter in Vol. VI, Kibbutz Studies Book 
Series, Joseph Raphael Blasi, ed., Norwood, PA, 1983. 



Barbara B. Jenkins 


I wanted to meet Violet Khoury from the mo- 
ment I heard that there had been an Arab 
woman who had been mayor of a large Arab 
village. She had been elected to the Local Coun- 
cil in 1969, served as head of the Council (mayor) 
for three years l , and later as Vice-Mayor from 
1979-83, when she immigrated to Canada. 

On the evening of May 17, 1987 Dr. Vivian Gold, 
a friend and fellow psychologist also interested 
in meeting Violet, drove me to Kfar Yasif, (pro- 
nounced Kofer Yasif), an Arab village located in 
the western Galilee near Acre (Akko, Akka). By 
prearrangement we met Dr. Geries and Amal 
Khoury outside the village and followed them 
through narrow, winding streets to the family 
compound of houses atop the hill. We wouldn't 
have been able to find it alone at night. 

I had learned a few days earlier while spending 
some days visiting Amal in Nazareth that Violet 
had just been told that she had metastatic cancer 
in both lungs and her liver. She was under- 
standably despairing. We hoped by talking 
about important experiences in her life, she 
would become her strong, courageous, fighting 
self again, rather than giving up. She would 
need that strength during her newest struggle for 
a quality life. 

We talked with Violet for about five hours, being 
joined by family for an elaborate, delicious meal. 
As Violet talked, she became visibly stronger. 
She was radiant at midnight as we departed for 
Haifa. She wanted to leave her version of her 
history so that Arab children, in particular, 
would have an understanding of their history 
and the part in it which she played. 2 She regret- 
ted never having taken the time to write a book. 

During the next seven months we had phone 
conversations until her death in December 1987 
at age 58. Her funeral was attended by 3,000 
Arabs and Jews, according to the Jerusalem Post , 
Jan. 16, 1988. 

I told Violet that I was interested in knowing her 
view of Arab Israeli women and also her per- 
sonal experiences, how she got elected, how 
people responded, and what she accomplished. 

Violet Khoury, Barbara Jenkins, and Vivian Gold 

Violet began by saying: 

I'm so sorry that male politicians don't appreci- 
ate the short time that nature or God has given 
us to live. I don't know if I'll be able to live long 
enough to see my dreams come true. I want to 
live for the sake of my country and for the sake 
of my children. I don't want to die for the sake 
of anything. But I, as an Arab Israeli woman, 
when I hear about a bomb in Tel Aviv in a bus, 
or when I hear about an air raid on the Palestin- 
ian camps, both these occasions really hurt me. 
The Jewish woman who lost her son is my 
friend. She's like my sister. Those Palestinians 
with all the suffering of forty years, with the 
world neglecting them, with the Arabs still using 
them so badly, with Israel not thinking of them 
as having the right of self determination and 
having their own Palestine near Israel, are my 

I used to hope that I'd live until there is peace. 
Now I pray, I don't want to die before I see one 
day of peace between Israel and the Arab state. I 
want to live with every Jew as equal in rights 
and services. I pray all politicians will think of 
humanity and peace. I've said many times 
women should join together and force govern- 
ments to make peace. I even thought of it when 
I was in the Bridge of Peace, HaGesher L' Shalom 3 - 
I gave it its name. I also thought of having an 
international conference, International United 
Women for Peace, where women throughout the 
world would unite to forbid wars. I wanted 
HaGesher to write Jahan Sadat and Indira 
Gandhi so that they would initiate the conference 
somewhere in India. The women from the Arab 
countries, Israel, Europe, and America would all 
attend the conference and lead a hunger strike 
until there were no more wars. I thought of 
many things. It seems that we women are weak 
or else we can't do much with this world of man 
with all his neuroses. It is very hard to live 


where you are warring all the time between your 
country and your people. 

During Military Rule 

We went through very hard times during the 
military rule 4 . I applied to be a teacher, but 
wasn't accepted I think because of my frank 
opinions. I learned social work and worked as a 
social worker for thirteen years for my people. I 
used to go on horseback and sleep in Arab 
villages, breaking the norms of conservative 
Arab society. I took the risk of going against the 
strong traditions of the community, but I had the 
support of my father. He really believed in me. 
My brothers (from father's first wife) said, "Oh, 
but you know people will talk. She's sleeping 
outside in the villages. She comes late." I heard 
my father say, "She'll care for herself. Don't put 
obstacles in her way. I can believe in her." I 
think that this backing from my father really 
helped, especially since I was motherless. 

Violet married in 1952 and continued working as 
a social worker. Her husband, twenty years 
older than she, was a teacher, and later mayor of 
the village for many years. They had three sons. 
She said that they went through good times and 
bad ones. She told the following story which il- 
lustrates what life was like for Arabs under the 
military government and her commitment to her 

In 1960 we still had the military government in 
the Galilee and the military governor in Kfar 
Yasif used to come twice a month. On the first of 
January 1960 I had a facial paralysis. I was 
pregnant with my second child 5 . My military 
permit had expired and I went to my doctor 
here. He gave me a letter sending me to a 
specialist in Haifa. He said, "It's urgent!" I said, 
"My permit is void. I can't go." He said, "No, 
you have to go. You have this letter and, even if 
they stop you, they'll understand." My brother 
went with me because we're very close and he's 
a nurse. Between Acre and Haifa there was a 
check point. The military man came to see the 
permits. My brother's was valid, but mine had 
expired so I explained, "I'm ill. Look at my face. 
(My eye looked terrible.) This is the letter from 
the doctor. I'm going to the specialist. We have 
to go to Haifa. My brother wanted to come with 
me." He said, "Why are you afraid? We're not 
going to eat you." I said, "My brother isn't ill. 
He's going with me because I'm ill. If you don't 
let me go to the doctor's, then my brother can go 
to the doctor and get treatment for me." It was a 
very windy day and I was paralyzed on one side 
of my face. I said, "Look, take me wherever you 
want, but you can't leave me in this weather 
because I think it's not good for me. Look at my 

eye." He responded "You don't give us orders!!" 
We stood outside for three quarters of an hour 
and then I started really shouting. They put me 
in the jeep with my brother and they took me 
back to Acre to the police station. I was told I 
had to be fingerprinted. I said, "I'm not a crimi- 
nal. Can't you see that I am ill! Can't you see 
that I can't wait. Here is the medical report." The 
military governor isn't here today. He is ex- 
pected in three days, but he may not come then. 
They insisted that I had to be fingerprinted. 

She remained in the police station for hours with 
many attempts to fingerprint her ending in a 
stalemate. She believed that they were trying to 
compromise her integrity by bringing a Druze 

Knesset member, Jaber Madi, to sign for her 
release. She said that he, together with his 
children, plotted the murder of a Bedouin 
Knesset member, Hammad Abu-Rabia. She 
asked him not to interfere. Later they brought 
her aged father. She asked him not to sign for 
her since she wasn't a criminal. He agreed not to 
sign, but refused to go home because he was 
afraid she would be beaten. They could hear 
people being beaten. Finally an officer spoke to 
her in English (this was helpful since at that time 
she didn't speak Hebrew well) and agreed to let 
her accompany her father home without signing 
anything since she was ill and pregnant. She 
returned to Court five days later, refused to 
admit her guilt, was fined, and when the judge 
said,"Don't you respect this Court?" she 
responded,"I want this Court to respect the 
people!" She never received the appropriate 
medical treatment in Haifa. One side of her face 
showed signs of paralysis. 

She told another story about what occurred 
when her beloved uncle, Dr. Musala, sent a 
telegram in 1961 or 1962 that he was visiting 
Jordan and wanted to see them at Mandelbaum 
Gate. They went through elaborate procedures 
and the rest of her family received permits which 
Violet was denied. Her husband was a member 
of the Local Council, and the Israeli government 
wanted her to be photographed with someone 
who was in the government. She refused be- 
cause she thought that doing so would compro- 
mise them and make them appear to be traitors 
since her husband had entered a coalition with 
someone else. She experienced and resisted 
much family pressure. She was determined to 
see her uncle if he was there even if it meant 
getting shot. She went alone early to the guard- 
house at Mandelbaum Gate and was first told 
that her uncle had canceled the meeting two 
weeks earlier. Later, after some consultation, the 
guard said that the rest of her family could see 
him, but not Violet. Her family arrived and she 
instructed her sister to go to the Jordanian side 


and ask the guard there. Her sister returned 
saying "They knew that he canceled and they 
made all this hutsaka , charade, from Kfar Yasif 
to Jerusalem (a difficult trip) for our father who 
was an old man!" He nearly died. 

After the Military Government 

After Violet's husband decided to retire from the 
Local Council, she asked his permission to run 
for the Council. When she won in 1969, he 
admitted that he gave permission because he 
thought she wouldn't win. She enlisted the help 
of open-minded young people who helped her 
run on an independent list of candidates for the 
office. A number of the women told her that 
they were glad she was running, but they 
couldn't vote for her because their husbands 
were supporting another candidate. She ex- 
plained that families voted as a block. She won 
because enough families supported her. Later I 
asked her if the women from the Arab and 
Jewish Peace Group, HaGesher , the Bridge, had 
come to Kfar Yasif to help her. She said that 
there was no outside help. 

Since men ridiculed those who supported her, 
she was careful to continue doing all the house- 
hold chores so that her supporters would not 
lose their status in the community. Her husband 
still insisted that she bring his coffee in bed, and 
she prepared all the meals for her family to eat 
in her absence from home. Working on the 
Local Council meant adding an additional job to 
her others. She continued teaching six days a 
week and had full responsibility for the care of 
her family which included relatives who re- 
quired additional care. 

She was always alert when she served on the 
Local Council since she believed the other coun- 
cil members as well as others in the village were 
looking for something with which to criticize and 
discredit her as a woman. They wanted to say, 
"Well, she's a woman. What do you expect from 
a woman!" The positions she took were excel- 
lent, and eventually the men began to notice. 
She tried to improve the health and human 
services for women and children. Women told 
her they were proud of her. She was invited into 
a coalition a year and a half later and served as 
mayor for three years. 

She resigned from the Council when a new 
coalition was formed, based on religious funda- 
mentalism and separateness which went against 
her socialist, humanitarian, universalist values. 
She later returned to the Local Council and was 
Deputy Chairman, under Nimir Murkus, from 
1979-83, when she immigrated to Canada in 
anger, frustration, and disgust after the Israeli 

government refused to treat a violent incident 
between her village and a neighboring one with 
the same legal measures they would use if 
similar violence had occurred between Jewish 

The violence began during the final soccer match 
played in Kfar Yasif with Julis, a neighboring 
Druze village. Because football in Israel is 
sometimes violent extra police protection was 
requested. Only six police were assigned. Julis 
fans arrived in military dress carrying weap- 
ons — rifles, hand grenades. (Druze males are 
drafted into the IDF.) Violet's son played on the 
Kfar Yasif team. However, she didn't attend the 
game. When the game began, a Julis fan threw a 
noise grenade onto the field. The police were 
called, but reinforcements arrived after the game. 
During the game insults about the mothers of the 
Kfar Yasif team were shouted by Julis fans, and 
fighting between fans ensued. Two Julis youth 
were stabbed — one died later in the hospital. 
The police were kept busy collecting military 
weapons from Julis fans. The crowd swarmed 
the center of Kfar Yasif where someone from 
Julis threw a hand grenade near a crowd of Kfar 
Yasif children. Nine were injured — one died a 
couple weeks later. The police detained six Kfar 
Yasif young men, but refused to point out the 
murderer since according to the law only the 
Court of Justice can give such a serious verdict. 

The KY Local Council met and, against Violet's 
advice, decided to begin the Arab Sulha, a peace 
reconciliation committee comprised of leaders 
from other local villages which called on the 
family of the victim to express sympathy on 
behalf of the KY village and offer financial 
compensation. The offer was rejected; they 
wanted the name of the murderer (presumably 
to kill him). The reconciliation committee dis- 
banded when the KY Local Council couldn't 
comply because they didn't know. The next day 
police were called several times when people 
from Julis were seen in Kfar Yasif doing suspi- 
cious looking surveillance. The requests for 
extra protection were dismissed with sarcasm. 
One the following day Violet got a warning 
phone call that they were coming to kill her son. 
She got them out safely. Five minutes later 
thousands from Julis entered KY in military 
vehicles with military uniforms and weapons as 
well as on foot with knives and garden tools. A 
grenade exploded in the building of the Local 
Council, and during the next two hours ten resi- 
dents were injured, two killed, and 100 homes 
and businesses and 26 autos were destroyed. 
Within the first three minutes of the attack the 
police in Kfar Yasif and Acre were called to stop 
the invasion and protect the residents. They 
arrived after the attackers left. In addition phone 


calls for help were made to leaders of nearby 
villages to come stand between the villages. 
They responded immediately, but were stopped 
on the road by the police some distance from KY 6 . 
The fire brigade and ambulances were also 
prevented by the police from entering the vil- 
lage. The twelve police on duty in the village 
used no tear gas and apprehended no one. The 
KY Local Council believed that the police delay 
was intentional and that there was collusion 
between the Julis Druze and the police. They 
requested that the Prime Minister begin an inves- 
tigation independent of the local police. Instead, 
a police investigating committee was convened 
which reported that there was negligence. The 
case was closed; no one was tried in Court. 

Violet immediately sent her son, whose house 
and restaurant had been destroyed, to Canada to 
prevent any further attacks on his life. She tried 
to take legal action, but couldn't find a Jewish 
attorney willing to take the case. She said that 
she met with the Prosecutor General who said 
that there was an Israeli law which stated that 
the Government could not be responsible for 
actions by an army man. She and her husband 
immigrated to Canada in 1983, but returned 
when her husband couldn't adjust to life there. 
She said that since then her health failed. She 
developed high blood pressure, diabetes, heart 
irregularities, and cancer. 


1 The Jerusalem Post (January 16, 1983) reported that 
she was mayor for two years, while the chapter on Violet 
Khoury "For the First Time, An Arab Woman Was 
Something" in Geraldine Stern Israeli Women Speak Out 
says three years. 

I had heard from a number of people, including 
Arab youth in an dialogue group with Jewish adoles- 
cents, that they did not learn about Arab history in their 
Arab schools because their teachers were afraid of 
reprisal from the shin bet, the Israeli secret police. The 
subject was supposed to be taught, but teachers had been 
called in for questioning and fired for teaching it. 

Violet was one of the founding members of 
HaGesher which was started when Ruth Lys, a Jewish 
mother who lost her son in the Yom Kippur war, wrote 
Jahan Sadat about her loss and inquired about Egyptian 
women who suffered similar losses and wanted peace. 
Jahan Sadat wrote back that she also was interested in 
peace. Their correspondence was published in the 
newspaper and Arab and Jewish women in Israel began 
to meet in homes to discuss issues and their personal 
experiences. They still meet. Many of the women 
writing for this issue are or v/ere members including BBJ. 

From Oct. 21,1948 to Dec. 1, 1966 Arab citizens of 
Israel lived under Military Government. They were 
treated as enemies within the state, as third class citizens. 
The statutes, 170 articles, were inherited from the British 
Mandate which was enacted to deal with the Palestinian 
Arab revolt of 1936-39 and was later used with the Stern 
gang. It was used only after a state of emergency was 

declared. The government of Israel has had a permanent 
state of emergency against its Arab citizens, even after 
abolishing the Military Government. While the Israeli 
government would assert that the discriminations have 
occurred because of security needs, that argument has 
been refuted in a recent doctoral dissertation by Dr. 
Samir Miari (1986). 

Arab citizens were forced to carry special permits which 
they obtained from the military governor in their area if 
they were traveling outside their village. The permit was 
valid for a specified time period, location, and route. The 
threat of not obtaining a permit controlled the political 
behavior as well as the social, educational, and economic 
prospects for the Arab citizens. They had to be satisfied 
with low paying jobs. They couldn't compete in the job 
market for higher status jobs. They couldn't travel to 
explore other job possibilities and they weren't hired 
because they were Arabs. They were suspected and 
disrespected. Their property was taken by the govern- 

Article 125, the most frequently used article, was used in 
combination with the provisions of the Cultivation of 
Waste Lands Ordinance to substantially expropriate Arab 
agricultural lands. The process is described by Ian 
Lustick (1980, p 178) and cited by Miari (1986): 

A closed area encompassing Arab-owned agricultural 
lands is declared a "closed area." The owners of the land 
are then denied permission by the security authorities to 
enter the area for any purpose whatsoever, including cul- 
tivation. After three years pass, the Ministry of Agricul- 
ture issues certificates which classify the lands as unculti- 
vated. The owners are notified that unless cultivation is 
renewed immediately the lands will be subject to expro- 
priation. The owners, still barred by the security authori- 
ties from entering the "closed area" within which their 
lands are located, cannot resume cultivation. The lands 
are then expropriated and become part of the general 
land reserve for Jewish settlement. Eventually permis- 
sion to enter the "closed area" is granted to Jewish 
farmers; alternatively the classification of the area as 
"closed" is lifted altogether. 

Miari discusses each of the important regulations which 
were used to acquire Arab lands and presents data from 
several sources, including Lustick, for 27 Arab villages in 
Table 4.1 and concludes that "over 68 percent of the total 
land privately owned by Arabs was expropriated" (p. 93). 

5 At the time of the interview her second son was a 
physician doing his internship in Rothschild Hospital in 

6 While getting some words translated I learned from 
Samir Miari that many religious leaders and people from 
surrounding villages, heeding the call for help and com- 
ing to stand between the two villages, were stopped by 
the police on the road leading to the villages and not 
allowed to proceed. He lived in a neighboring village 
and it appeared to him that the police were involved 
with the people of Julis. 



Barbara B. Jenkins and Nava Sonnenschein 

Neve Shalom in Hebrew/Wahat al-Salam in 
Arabic means Oasis of Peace. It is a serious and 
creative endeavor by Jews and Palestinians who 
are citizens of Israel to live and work together. 
In the last ten years they have created a village 
which now has seventy in residence. The goal is 
to have half from each nationality. Currently, 
however, membership is about sixty percent 
Jewish, forty percent Palestinian. They are 
located half way between Tel Aviv and Jerusa- 
lem near Kibbutz Nachshon. It was no man's 
land on the Israeli side of the border before 1967. 
The land belongs to the Latrun Monastery which 
rents the land to the village. 

Modest homes sit atop a hill (more like a moun- 
tain when you are climbing up) with a magnifi- 
cent view of the Ayalon Valley and coastal cities 
at night. In February and March the whole 
mountain side was covered with lovely wild- 
flowers. The atmosphere between people is open 
and friendly. Sometimes there is conflict and 
tension, but they listen to each other. When you 
come from Jerusalem, as I did many times, you 
can feel the difference; there is no fear of each 
other. All are treated with respect. The adults 
work devotedly from about seven in the morning 
until late at night, six days a week. They under- 
stand how important their work is. Everyone 
earns the same pay. The founder of the commu- 
nity, Father Bruno Hussar, a Dominican priest, 
has been nominated this year on behalf of 
NS/WS for the Nobel Peace Prize. 

I learned an important lesson there: what may 
seem impossible is do-able. A few weeks before 
a giant open house, called Open Day, when Jews 
and Palestinians from all over the country were 
invited to share the arts, music, dance, and picnic 
peacefully on the mountainside, I came one week 
end to help the village get ready as did twenty- 
two other volunteers, people from a Beit Hillel 
(Hillel House) dialogue at Hebrew University 
and graduates from programs at NS/WS. (If you 
think about it, would you consider inviting 
20,000 people to your home and the homes of 
thirteen neighbors? What about planning for 
charter buses, parking, bathrooms, food? The 
houses are unlocked.) Ariela told us we would 
be clearing the side of the mountain down to a 
natural amphitheater so that people could sit and 
listen to music. The thistle was plentiful and 
about five feet high. I took one look and thought 
it was impossible. We were shown what to do, 
started at the bottom and cleared everything. 


Stopping to watch one saw the weeds cleared 
away like rising waves. We finished ahead of 
schedule with lots of blisters and good humor. It 
was possible! What special spirit! We were 
proud of our work and spent the rest of the 
evening getting to know each other better. 
Twenty thousand came to the Open Day a few 
weeks later when we were all back as volunteers. 
Why would anyone want to live anywhere else? 

For this article I interviewed Nava Sonnenschein, 
the former Educational Director of the School for 
Peace (SFP), and incorporated passages from a 
summary of the Ford Foundation research writ- 
ten by Elias Eady, the current Educational Direc- 
tor. (They rotate the leadership positions; Ariela 
will direct it next year.) Nava is in the U.S. for 
two years working on an M.A. in Counseling 
while her husband Cobi, from the Weizmann 
Institute, has a post-doctoral fellowship at Stan- 
ford University in physics. 

Nava Sonnenschein 

How did you come to NS/WS and what was it 
like in the early days? 

I was living in Haifa and involved in the rela- 


tionship between Jews and Palestinians. While 
Haifa is a mixed city, Jews and Palestinians do 
not live in the same neighborhoods. It was 
frustrating because there was no framework for 
really living together, even the political activities 
were separate. We thought how it would be 
wonderful if there was one village which Jews 
and Palestinians could build together. It was just 
thinking about an idea. One day in 1977 we 
were in a demonstration in Nazareth against the 
Kenig document, a racist government document 
against Palestinian citizens in the north of the 
country (mostly Jews demonstrating in a mainly 
Palestinian city) when a person stood on the 
stage and said that there will be a camp at a 
place called NS/WS and people are invited. We 
went to the camp in 1977. From this camp a 
group of about thirty people decided to organize 
a group that maybe one day would come and 
live in NS/WS. There are other families at NS/ 
WS that participated in the group: Abed and 
Aisha Najjar l , Eitan and Semadar Kreimer 2 . 
There were other people from other organiza- 
tions: Shutafut (Partnership) and Beit Hillel 
(Hillel House). It was a nice experience. It was 
very important for Cobi and me to do something 
with partners from the other people, with Pales- 
tinians, to really live together. In 1979 we came 
to live at NS/WS and were the second perma- 
nent family. 

Philosophy of NS/WS 

There are two people living in this country: Jews 
and Palestinians. Both think it's their country 
and neither is going to leave. We don't believe 
in expelling people, or occupying territories or in 
one people using force to rule the other people. 
We believe in equality in all levels. Jews and 
Palestinians should find a way to live together in 
equality, on the national level, as well as cultur- 


ally and socially. That's why we decided to 
build this village. It is important not to mix 
everything; each group should keep its own 
identity (national, cultural, religious, ethnic) and 
respect differences. Pluralism is very important, 
in addition to equality. It is also important to 
spread the idea outside to other people. It 
doesn't mean that all Israel/Palestine will have 
villages like NS/WS, but it is the symbolic aspect 
of NS/WS that we can really build together, 
make decisions together, rotate the important 
roles and positions of power, and really share 
our lives. It is important because everybody said 
it is impossible. We don't think so. By really 
having this experience, we can also have an 
honest and powerful message for other people 
who come to participate in workshops at NS/ 
WS, at the School for Peace (SFP), and in peace 

The School for Peace 

The SFP is an educational institute where we do 
educational projects for Palestinian and Jewish 
teen-agers and adults from all over the country 
(10,000 so far). We have done a variety of proj- 
ects including developing the model for encoun- 
ter workshops for Jews and Palestinians which 
many other organizations now use. We also 
have courses to train counselors to do conflict 
management workshops, and we have a number 
of ongoing projects which are really unique to 
the SFP: (a) we have a follow-up of activities for 
ongoing groups that are longer than a year; (b) 
projects with Palestinian women in their commu- 
nities; (c) projects with leaders in their communi- 
ties; (d) projects with Palestinian students at 
Hebrew University to improve their chances of 
not dropping out after their first year; (e) projects 
for leaders in youth movements; and (f) projects 
with Eastern (Oriental) Jews focussed on the rela- 
tionship between Eastern Jews and Palestinians. 
We are the only place doing ongoing action 
research on the effectiveness of our conflict man- 
agement groups. With funding from the Ford 
Foundation, Haviva Bar of the Institute for 
Applied Social Research in Jerusalem conducted 
the research which showed that doing dialogue 
groups is not enough, it depends on how you do 

It is essential for every encounter to tailor indi- 
vidualized programs for each group. In the past, 
the School for Peace focused its goals on warm 
bonds and contact between both peoples during 
and after every encounter. . . Today these aims 
are no longer paramount. 

We focus more on an awareness of the situation, 
on the skills to live amidst the conflict, and on 
one's affinity for and acquaintance with oneself, 


one's group, and the other national group. . . 
The School for Peace uniquely invests its efforts 
in promoting young people's ability 'to live with 
the conflict'. . . [reflecting] the fact that the 
conflict is difficult and complicated, and its 
solutions will be difficult. 

One of the most critical findings. . . was the vast 
difference between the Jewish intervention group 
[attending workshops] and the Jewish compari- 
son group, i.e., whenever there was no interven- 
tion, the regression of the comparison group 
(movement in the undesirable direction concern- 
ing our aims) [having more stereotypes and 
being less willing to know the other side] was 
extremely pronounced. . . It is impossible to run 
numerous one-time workshops for many young 
people. . . To provide equal opportunity for both 
peoples during an encounter, one must recognize 
the different needs of Arab and Jewish students 
and provide an individualized response geared 
toward moving both groups toward the same 
goals. . . Both groups appreciated that the 
workshops had enabled them to know them- 
selves better, and had generally strengthened 
their identity and their awareness of the 
conflict's complexity 3 . 

We work separately with each group so they will 
arrive more mature and prepared for the conflict 
management workshop. Otherwise, the Jews can 
be immobilized by their fears, be very aggres- 
sive, or not be able to listen. The Palestinians, 
not having previous experience in group process 
or the opportunity to discuss the complex issue 
of identity, might lack confidence and be very 
defensive. We do at least two workshops with 
each group after intensive work with them in 
their communities. 

As a result of the intifada we had to work harder 
with some Jewish parents to persuade them to 
send their children. This was much less true on 
the Palestinian side. With the teen-agers, how- 
ever, both sides wanted to come more than ever. 
When the Palestinian group came they showed 
pride in what their people can do — not the 
violence, but in using nonviolent methods to try 
to change the situation of people from the West 
Bank. They saw that they are not helpless, they 
can do something. None of the planned activi- 
ties was canceled. 

Living in a community gives workshops a di- 
mension and depth that you can't find else- 
where. People who come to the activities see us 
living there. They see that we have children. 
They see that we decide together. Sometimes 
they say that they wish their community was like 
that. They ask a lot of questions. How can it 
work? What are the difficulties and problems? 
How do you deal with it? By really hearing 

Uri Sonnenschein 

specifically how we deal with difficult moments, 
they see it's not a dream or illusion or propa- 
ganda. It's real life. The counselors are able to 
work at a greater depth because of understand- 
ing things differently from having lived together 
for so long. 

Whaf s it like raising your children there? Tell 
me about the Bilingual/Binational School, the 
only one in the country. 

One of the beautiful things is that your child is 
living without fear of children from the other 
national group, unlike the average child in Israel 
who sees them as enemies. If you ask the aver- 
age Jewish child what he thinks about Arabs or 
Palestinians, he will say they are terrorists, assas- 
sins, and I'm frightened. Our children play 
together; they speak both languages because the 
school is bilingual and bicultural. They respect 
differences. An example which reflects it is 
when my son Nir was five, he went to a park in 
Jerusalem and one girl said to them, "Hey, kids! 
Aren't you afraid to be here alone? There are 
Arabs here." He came home and told me the 
story. He said,"Such a stupid girl. I told her 
what's the problem? Arabs are our friends." I 
see differences with my sister's children or other 
relatives, they are growing up differently. Our 
children are not ignoring the problems. They are 
dealing with them as they present themselves 
every day. For example, when there is Inde- 
pendence Day, the children have to decide what 
to do. This year they put up an Israeli flag and 
next to it an empty one. They talked about the 
meaning: I can put my flag, but you can't put 
your flag. When you see them playing or study- 
ing, it's hard to know who is who. 

In the open classroom there are always two 
teachers each speaking in his/her own language. 
First they learn to read and write in their own 
language and then in the other one. They start 


to speak both languages from the beginning. It's 
an open classroom because of the heterogeneous 
ages; there's team-work and opportunities to 
pursue individual interests. Partly we were 
influenced by the kibbutz schools, partly by the 
open schools, partly by the imagination and 
creativity of our teachers. There's a nursery for 
the seven babies, a preschool together with a 
kindergarten, and an elementary school class- 

Have you gotten government funding? 

No, not for our infra-structure or our schools. 
All our funding comes from abroad. We did get 
some loans from the Ministry of Housing which 
every Israeli can get. 

Tell about Open Day 

Once in two years we have given people who 
have graduated from our programs, their fami- 
lies, and their communities the opportunity to 
come and enjoy one day of art together in a 
peaceful way. This is unique in Israel where the 
arts are done separately. We contacted artists 

from both sides and they volunteered their per- 
formances. About 8,000 came to the first one 
and 20,000 to the second. 

In a country painfully torn by conflict NS/WS 
stands out as an oasis in honest, respectful, and 
realistic living. It shows what is possible when 
caring people treat each other as human beings 
and continue to try to listen and understand 
when they have serious disagreements. They 
live with the tension; not all conflicts are re- 
solved, but the people are respected. They 
provide a realistic hope about what is possible 
with committed hard work and imagination. 


1 Abed is currently the village secretary (mayor) and 
Aisha is the Palestinian teacher for the kindergarten in 
the Bilingual/Binational School. 

Eitan is the village treasurer and Semadar is 
coordinator of the tourism project. 

3 Eady, Elias. The Contribution of Ongoing Action 
Research to the School for Peace, 1985-88. July, 1988. He 
is the Director of the School for Peace and the former 
village secretary (mayor). 

Cover photo key reads from top to bottom, left to 

1 . Dr. Vivian Gold and Violet Khoury, Kfar Yasif 

2. Chocolate- faced child, HSDC Nursery, Kababir 

3. Kinaan Waheadah, Wesal AH Mulla and Nagat 
Saleh, Yarka Village 

4. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir 

5. Bedouin sisters, Haifa 

6. Child, HBWS 

7. Yosra Miari 

8. Amal Sarujo, Ariela Bairey, NS/WS 

9. Ethiopian woman, HBWS 

10. Brig. Gen. Amira Do tan 

11. Mother and child, HBWS 

12. Queen Esthers, Tel Aviv 

13. A friend and Coral Aron, NS/WS 

14. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir 

15. Children, SDCH Nursery, Kababir 

16. Widad Agbariah, Kababir 

Photos by Barbara B. Jenkins 

SDCH = Social Development Committee of Haifa 
HBWS = Haifa Battered Women's Shelter 
NS/WS = Nev Shalom/Wahat al- Salam 



Mariam Mar'i 

Dr. Mar'i has volunteered her work at the Arab Pedagogical 
Center. She is an instructor at the University of Haifa and is 
a counselor at the Orthodox Arab College in Haifa. She is 
co-president of Shutafut (Partnership), an excellent organiza- 
tion which engages in joint Jewish and Arab projects; is a 
member of the executive committee of the International 
Center for Peace in the Middle East; is a member of the 
Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Issue of Arab 
Women; and is on the board of the New Israel Fund. She 
was approached by three political parties to run on their list. 
She declined. Her priority is the Acre Arab Women's 

I observed the teachers training program at the Arab 
Pedagogical Center in Akko (Acre) and was impressed with 
the Deweyian methods in action. The teachers were 
engaged in the art activities which they would later use with 
the children in their classrooms. I had previously observed 
in an Arab nursery school and had seen a laissez faire at- 
mosphere where children engaged in free play for long 
periods of time without any teacher intervention or plan. I 
believe that Mar'i's assessment of the need for direct 
classroom observation of teachers in the field is very essen- 
tial to improve the education of the Arab population in 

Mariam, a Muslim, has recently been widowed and is facing 
the difficulties of raising two teen-agers alone. BBJ 

APC trained teachers, SDCH Nursery, Kababir 

We began as a group of friends, Arab women 
with different professions, meeting around a cup 
of coffee and cake or tabbouleh and discussing 
current events. For the first year, it was un- 
planned and unorganized talking. After a while, 
we decided that each woman who hosted the 
meeting was responsible for choosing the discus- 
sion which could be about an article, a book, a 
film or a topic in her profession. The topics 
ranged from psychological problems to the 
education of our children as well as theological 
and spiritual matters. We met once a month for 
four hours. 

In the beginning, we brought our children with 
us but they bothered us so we decided that the 
meetings were going to be without the children. 
The children were left with their fathers, which 
at the beginning was okay. But when our meet- 
ings became lengthy, the fathers started com- 
plaining. When the fathers started complaining 
about the children and our absences for longer 
periods of time, we started thinking of a solution 
for the children. 

At first we used baby-sitting, but we weren't 
very pleased with it. Then we thought of creat- 
ing a nursery school. We decided to expand the 
idea to include children whose mothers weren't 
in our consciousness-raising group. We went 
door-to-door to register students and to encour- 
age parents to send their children to the nursery 

Then we went to the municipality and started 
fighting for a place to start the nursery school. 
At the beginning, we really didn't win our battle 
with the municipality. We rented a basement for 
six months and were finally successful with the 
municipality and acquired larger quarters. Our 
persistence brought success; we learned we 
could actually do something. We began the first 
Arab nursery school in Acre in 1975. 


SDCH Nursery, Kababir 

Four years ago, we created a center beside the 
nursery which we called a Pedagogical Center, 
which served the whole Arab community in 
Israel. We had an outreach program to other 
nursery schools and began a training program 
for care givers and teachers. 

So far, we have trained two hundred teachers 
and care givers and are involved with thirty 
teachers who have completed our initial training 
program. We supervise them in their classrooms 
and provide instructional materials. 

We created the follow-up program because we 
found out that training in the center itself is not 
enough. We had provided them with a theoreti- 
cal foundation and actual practice in the activi- 
ties they would conduct with the children. But 
when we observed them in their own nursery 
school classrooms, we found they were not util- 
izing what they had been taught. So last year, 
we created a follow-up program supervising 
them in the field. 

We have a growing project. We started from one 
class of thirteen children and now we have one 
hundred children with nine staff members in our 
own nursery school which began in 1975, and 
the Arab Pedagogical Center in Acre, to support 
this nursery school and day-care center and to 
reach out to other private nursery schools in the 
country. The care givers in those private nurser- 
ies had no supervision, no guidance and no 
training; they became the target group for our 
training program. In addition to training those 
already in the field, we recruited some people 
interested in joining the profession. 

In our outreach for those working in the field, 
we write letters explaining about the program. 
We get a 99 percent response from the field 
workers because they really want training. For 
those interested in joining the profession, we put 
announcements in the local newspapers advertis- 

ing our expert training course. After they regis- 
ter, they are given written tests on language, 
logic and creativity. We have personal inter- 
views with those who score highly on the tests 
and select those most suitable. We have twenty 
five in each class and we run a couple of classes 

We have moved to a new facility. We bought an 
abandoned a house in Acre, which was used by 
drug dealers. We started remodeling inside but 
had difficulty with the municipality. We believe 
that they thought the money came from the PLO. 
It did not. Even though there was no law 
against what we were doing to the inside of the 
building, we couldn't get water and electricity. 
We went to court and won but unfortunately 
had to spend a lot of money in the process. 
There is a law about remodeling the outside of 
the building and we haven't been allowed to 
continue with our work on the outside. This 
disturbs me because from the outside, the build- 
ing does not express our philosophy of clean, 
neat and respectable values we want our teach- 
ers to internalize. 

We desperately need funds. We've had to spend 
so much on court costs. We lost our contractor 
because of delays. We're aiming for $10,000.00 
to remodel the outside of the building. I will 
arrange that contributions made out to the New 
Israel Fund (tax deductible) will be forwarded to 
us if they are earmarked for the Arab Acre 
Women's Association. 

We also need material relevant to early child- 
hood programs and child development. There 
are new materials, films and children's books 
produced in the U.S. we have been unable to get. 
We also need funds and a publisher in order to 
publish a few children's books which we have 
written in Arabic. 

Naomi Feigin 

Naomi Feigin, the Director of the Haifa Battered Women's 
Shelter, has a Diploma of Teaching from the Canberra 
College of Advanced Education in the Australian Capital 
Territory and a B.A. in English Literature from Haifa 
University. She taught English for four years before becom- 
ing a volunteer at the refuge. Through her involvement with 
the collective, Nashim Lemaon Nashim, Women for Women 
of Haifa, she was offered a job as one of the refuge coordina- 

She spent the past year in Melbourne, writing short stories 
based on the experiences with women at the refuge while 
her husband was on sabbatical there. In a few years she 
hopes to devote herself fully to writing. BBJ 

The refuge, or "shelter", as it is translated from 
Hebrew, is at first glance both shocking and 
depressing. The huge stone edifice in the Chris- 
tian quarter of Haifa with its high ceilings and 
tiled floors, darkens ones spirit as the cold stone 
hits flesh. It cries out poverty and deprivation. 
Yet within its walls lives a community of women 
who through clouds of cigarette smoke and 
simmering pots of Turkish coffee, take "time 
out" to re-evaluate their battered lives. They are 
Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Bedouin, and Druze, 
living under one roof and although not leaving 
their prejudices behind, they discover upon 
arrival, that their collective bruises and beatings 
unite them. 

I sit on a bed opposite Miriam who arrived last 
week and listen. Her three year old daughter is 
upstairs in the shelter kindergarten and her baby 
son sleeps in the crib in the corner of the room. 
She does not display her bruises, but has a look 
of fear and hopelessness darkening the prema- 
ture folds under her eyes, and a limpness of 
body that knows that to fight back will only 
make things worse. 


It is not by chance that my life has become 
enmeshed with Miriam's although our experi- 
ences are as far apart as the distance I have 
travelled to sit opposite her. I can only imagine 
the pain and degradation of being slapped 
around and bullied. It was not part of my 
growing up, and in marriage I have known love, 
respect and trust. 

In Melbourne, Australia, I was the only Naomi in 
Murrumbeena, an outer suburb where my par- 
ents could afford their first house. I had no 
desire to be Anne, Margaret or Susan, or to have 
a Christmas tree. I absorbed my parents' Jewish, 
European background and culture, and like the 
biblical character after whom I was named felt a 
stranger in my land. I went to a Zionist youth 
movement to meet other Jewish children whose 
parents, like mine, had survived the holocaust. I 
learned about Israel and the socialist dream 
when the sixties and idealism for a better world 
penetrated our beings. 

Israel beckoned. Back in Melbourne after a year 
on a kibbutz I was left yearning for the passion- 
ate Israelis with whom my path had crossed, and 
for the land and its history. Today, seventeen 
years later Israel still generates a passion in all 
who come in contact with it, whether Jew or 
Arab. Intertwined, like the olive tree roots that 
line the road to Jerusalem these passions are still 
Israel's strength as well as its weakness. 

Miriam is packing. She is going home. She will 
give her husband one more chance. He has been 
phoning and begging her to return every since 
he discovered her whereabouts. He misses the 
children. He has never made so many promises. 
And he doesn't beat the children, not like some 
men. She misses her house and the neighbors. I 
do understand her don't I? She can come back, 
can't she? If it doesn't work out, we will take 
her in again? 

The baby stirs. He sits up in bed and looks 
around at the room that his sister calls their 
"house." In a year, or two, or three, this child 
may occupy the bed on which I now sit and his 
new baby brother or sister will occupy his crib. 
By then, Miriam may have come to realize that 
the promises her husband has made, whether 
well-meaning or not, are as vacant as the wall at 
which she now stares. 

Chilmiya, who has a small room opposite 
Miriam's, cannot return home. She was beaten 
unconscious by her husband because she spoke 
to another man. She has brought "shame" on 
her family and is in danger of her life if she steps 
within the village boundary. 

Chilmiya and I communicate with our hands and 
the few words she knows in Hebrew. She has 
never been taught the language of the country of 


her birth because she was a girl. I cannot speak 
Arabic like my Israeli colleagues and always 
promise myself that I will take lessons as soon as 
I have mastered Hebrew completely. Chilmiya's 
divorce proceedings are endless, as are those of 
her Jewish contemporaries. They, however, may 
marry again. She, as a divorcee, is only one rung 
above a prostitute in her community. 

It is almost three o'clock. Our three daughters 
await me at home. Upon entering the front door, 
Miriam and Chilmiya are swept aside until the 
darkness of my bed when thoughts can roam 
freely. I fear war and sickness. I cannot imagine 
fearing the man with whom I share this bed. I 
am angry with Israeli religious bodies, govern- 
ment agencies and society in general for barely 
acknowledging the needs of the Miriams and 
Chilmiyas of this world. 

My thoughts turn to Rachel and Ganet who 
despite incredible pressures did not return to 
their violent husbands and who brave it alone 

with their children in apartments in Haifa. 
Today we, the workers and volunteers, are their 
support, their family and their friends. It is we 
who sign as guarantors for their landlords and 
we who are invited to share in their new found 
independence. They spent almost a year at the 
shelter fighting for their children, maintenance, 
and that piece of paper called a get which is a 
divorce. They struggle to make ends meet with 
the pensions they receive, and clean houses to 
make some extra money. Rachel is Israeli born. 
Ganet is a new immigrant from Ethiopia. It is 
the courage of Rachel and Ganet that keeps us all 
going when the system fails. 

Each year, over one hundred women and their 
children step through the iron security door to 
the safety of the shelter. The old stone building 
with its high ceilings and tiled floors gives 
comfort, protection, strength and hope to Israeli 
women. After I have gone home to my family, 
the pot of Turkish coffee simmers long into the 

Residents, Haifa Battered Women's Shelter 



Barbara B. Jenkins 

Acre Arab Women Association, 10 Ma'aleh Hahorsha, P.O. Box 2318, Acre 24505, Israel. T: 04-912289 Programs : Arab Pedagogi- 
cal Center training nursery teachers. Contact : Dr. Mariam Mar'i TDC: Mart arranged: send checks made out to the New Israel 
Fund to the above address. 

Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 2 Turiah St., Abu Tor, Jerusalem 93511, Israel. T: 02-718308 Program : A non- 
political body dedicated to the defense of the individual and civil rights in Israel, including freedom of speech and association, 
and the right to protest and to move freely. Contact : Eli Natan and Hagi Israeli TDC: Check made out to New Israel Fund. 

Center for Women's Studies, University of Haifa, Haifa 31999, Israel. T: 04-240929 Programs : Kidma Project for the Advance- 
ment and Involvement of Women in Israeli society. Outreach programs to Arab and Jewish women not usually attending univer- 
sity, including strengthening their self image, assertiveness training, and motivating them to act for the betterment of society; 
Public Lecture Series; Visiting Scholar Program; contributions will enable the beginning of a Women's Center in a university. 
Contact : Dr. Marilyn Safir, Director of Women's Studies. TDC: Send checks made out to American Friends of Haifa University 
to Dr. Marilyn Safir at the above address. 

HaGesher (The Bridge) Organization of Jewish & Arab Women for Coexistence and Peace; Several Branches: Dr. Marilyn Safir, 
Dr. Mariam Mar'i, Dr. Vivian Gold, University of Haifa, Haifa 31999, Israel. T: 04-240929; or Dr. Ada Aharoni, Beit Hagefen, 2 
Hagefen St., P.O. Box 9421, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-525251/2 Program : Monthly meetings, lectures, reciprocal visits, symposia; not 
politically affiliated. This spring the Haifa U. Women's Studies Center, HaGesher, and Nitzanei Shalom co-sponsored a sympo- 
sium for Arab and Jewish Women. Contact : Marilyn Safir or Ada Aharoni. 

Haifa Shelter For Bartered Women, P.O. Box 4667, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-662114 & 04-642409 Program : Shelter, support and 
counseling for Jewish and Arab battered women; kindergarten for children; they need career counseling program for the women 
as well as clothing. Part of the Isha L'Isha Woman to Woman Program. Contact : Naomi Feigin TDC: New Israel Fund. 

Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, P.O. Box 956, Tel Aviv 61008, Israel. T: 03-5565804 Program : Created in 1976, the 
Council supports a resolution for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip alongside Israel; Newsletter The Other 
Israel. Contacts : Adam Keller America-Israel Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace (AICIPP), 4816 Cornell Ave., Downers Grove, 
IL 60515. T: (312) 969-7584 Contact : Mary Appelman TDC: Send check made out to AICIPP to the above address. 

Israel Potters Association, c/o Magdalena Hafez, Cafe Magdalena, 22 Shelomo HaMelech St., Jerusalem, Israel. T: 02-224710. 

Israel Women's Network, P.O. Box 3171, Jerusalem 91037, Israel, T: 02-528057 Programs : National association of women's 
associations; hot line: health problems; discrimination in the workplace; consciousness-raising programs; materials library; 
symposia; Annual Membership — $25. First International Jewish Feminist Conference in Jerusalem, November 28-December 1, 
1988 cosponsored with American Jewish Congress and the World Jewish Congress. (For more information contact: American 
Jewish Congress, Commission for Women's Equality, 15 East 84th Street, New York, N.Y. 10028. Contact : Alice Shalvi, Ph.D. 
TDC and membership: Send check made out to New Israel Fund to the New Israel Fund Office in New York. 

Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam Village (Oasis of Peace), D.N. Shimshon 99761, Israel. T: 02-912222 Programs : School for Peace; 
Bilingual/Binational School. Contact : Abed Elsalam Najjar, Ariela Bairey or Elias Eady, Amer. Friends of NSAVS, 270 W. 89th 
St., New York, N.Y. 10024. T: (212) 724-4864. Contact : Karen Weinberg. TDC: Send check made out to New Israel Fund to 
above address. 

New Israel Fund, 111 West 40th St., #2600, New York, NY 10018. T: (212) 302-0066 Program : The New Israel Fund funds 
programs on Arab-Jewish relations, civil rights and liberties, women's rights, community action in Jewish and Arab communi- 
ties, and pluralism. Many of the groups I had contact with in Israel and that you have read about in this issue are 
funded by the NIF. I can highly recommend them based on my own observations of their programs. Tax deductible contribu- 
tions to the NIF can be earmarked for particular organizations. You can mail the check made out to the New Israel Fund either to 
the NIF office in New York or to the organization directly. 

New Jewish Agenda, 64 Fulton St., #1100, New York, NY 10038, T: (212) 227-5885 Pro gram : Works for peace and justice by 
applying Jewish values to domestic and international concerns. Priority issues include peace and justice in the Middle East and 
Central America, feminism, lesbian and gay rights, opposition to racism and anti-semitism. TDC: New Jewish Agenda. 

New Outlook, 9 Gordon St., Tel Aviv 63458, Israel. T: 03-236496/241806/ 241828 Program : Magazine dedicated to Israeli-Arab 
peace and the defense of democracy within Israel. Subscription: $30. Contact : Chaim Shur, Faye Bittker, & Hillel Schenker 
Friends of New Outlook, 150 Fifth Ave., #911, New York, NY 10011. T: (212) 929-0612 Contact: Hillel Schenker TDC: Friends 
of New Outlook. 

Nitzanei Shalom (Interns for Peace), 5 Geula St., Tel Aviv, Israel. T: 03-657995 Program : A non-political, independent program 
that trains and places Jewish and Arab community workers in a few Jewish and Arab villages. (Like the Peace Corps.) Contact : 


Rabbi Bruce Cohen, Farhat Agbariah, Sara Kreimer, and Naomi Shander. New York Office: Dina Charnin, 270 W. 89th St., New 
York, NY 10024. TDC: Send check to New Israel Fund at the above address. 

Rape Crisis Center, P.O. Box 33041, Tel Aviv 61330, Israel. T: 03-234314; P.O. Box 9308, Haifa, Israel. T: 04-382611; P.O. Box 158, 
Jerusalem 91001, Israel. T: 02-245554; PO Box 4, Ra'anana, Israel. T: 052-32432 Pro grams : Provides emotional and physical 
support for rape victims and organizes activities to advance awareness of violence against women. Contact : Rina Ben Tzvi (Tel 
Aviv), Nira Pravstein (Haifa), Lisa Fine (Jerusalem). TDC: New Israel Fund. 

Shalom Achshav (Peace Now), P.O. Box 108, Jerusalem, Israel. T: 02-637205 (h) 02-638247 (w) Program : Focuses on the search 
for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and on efforts to strengthen democracy in Israel. Contact : Tzali Reshef Peace 
Now, 111 W. 40th St., New York, NY 10018, T: (212)-944-2403; Contact : Mark Rosenblum TDC: Peace Now Educational Fund or 
Chicago Friends of Peace Now. 

Shutafut (Partnership), 18 Hillel St., P.O. Box 9577, Haifa 31095 Israel. T: 04-660281 Programs : Coordinate groups for multiple 
impact on communities; Partnership between Jews and Arabs in community work, training of teachers, dialogue groups. Contact : 
Daniel Padnos, Walid Mulla, Edna Zeretsky, and Dr. Mariam Mar'i. Friends of Partnership, 3982 Bayberry Lane, Seaford, N.Y. 
11783. TDC: Send checks made out to New Israel Fund to above address. 

The Ad-Hoc Committee of Writers and Artists for an Israeli-Palestinian Peace. A.S.A.C. Inc., RD 1 Box 198, Craryville, NY 
12521, T: (518) 851-3168 Program : Palestinian-Israeli art exhibition for peace in recognition of Two Nations, Two States to open 
at Cooper Union in NY from October 15 to November 17, 1988 and then tour major US cities. Contact : Shulamith Koenig TDC: 
American Support for the Advancement of Civil Liberties in Israel (A.S.A.C. Inc). 

The Social Development Committee of Haifa, 1 Abbas St., P.O. Box 4454, Haifa, Israel, T: 04-534152 Programs : Arab nursery 
schools; Arab community centers for underprivileged youth with volunteer teachers; Joint Arab-Jewish Day Camp in Haifa. 
Teachers attend Mar'i's training program. TDC: Checks made out to New Israel Fund sent to above address. Contact : Hussein 

The United Holy Land Fund, P.O. Box 1981, Chicago, IL. 60690, T: (312) 663-9056 Program : Since 1968 this nonprofit, nonpoliti- 
cal, nonpartisan, humanitarian organization has been rendering assistance to Palestinian social, health, and educational institutions 
in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and Lebanon. Among the many programs the UHLF administers are: the children's sponsorship 
program (Project Loving Care, Jerusalem and Lebanon) where a contribution of $20 per month sponsors a child; 300 scholarships 
for vocational training (many are women oriented); 200 scholarships for university students; nurseries and kindergartens in the 
West Bank, Gaza, in the Arab Triangle and Galilee. It assists the Palestine Red Crescent Society financially as well as with medical 
supplies and equipment. For more information contact them. Contact : Suhail Miari TDC: United Holy Land Fund. Contribu- 
tions may be earmarked for specified programs. 

The Van Leer Jerusalem Foundation Albert Einstein Sq., P.O. Box 4070, Jerusalem 91040, Israel, T: 02-667141 Program : An 
independent social and policy studies institute, the Foundation organizes research, educational projects, and conferences devoted 
to pluralism and democracy. The emphasis is on Jewish-Arab and Israeli-Arab relations. Contact : Alouph Hareven. TDC: New 
Israel Fund. 

Yesh Gvul (There is a border), P.O. Box 4172, Tel Aviv, Israel. Program : Founded in 1982 as a support group for soldiers 
refusing to serve in Lebanon, Yesh Gvul is concerned with the philosophical question of the general limits of obedience, particu- 
larly as that currently relates to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Contact : Robert Banvolgyi Ph. 02-520825 (h) 02-221424 (w), 
Yeshi Menuchin T: 02-414829 Friends of Yesh Gvul, 1678 Shattuck Ave., P.O. Box 6, Berkeley, CA 94709 (415) 848-9391. TDC: 
Send checks made out to NjA/Friends of Yesh Gvul to the above address. 

TDK = tax deductible contribution 


Additional Recommended Books 
Barbara B. Jenkins 

Avnery, Uri. My Friend, the Enemy. Westport, Conn., Lawrence Hill & Co., 1986. 
Documents years of dialogue between Israelis and PLO. 

Can the Palestinian Problem be Solved? Israeli Positions. Edited by Alouph Hareven. Jerusalem, Van Leer Jerusalem 
Foundation, 1983. 

Carter, Jimmy. The Blood of Abraham: Insights into the Middle East. Boston, Mass., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1985. 

Eisler, Riane. The Chalice and the Blade. New York, Harper and Row, 1987. 

El Saadawi, Nawal. The Hidden Face of Eve: Women in the Arab World. Boston, Mass., Beacon Press, 1982. 

Elon, Amos. The Israelis: Founders and Sons. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. 

Hapan, Simha. The Birth of Israel: Myths and Realities. New York, Pantheon Books, 1987. 

Grossman, David. The Yellow Wind. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1988. 
Recent interviews with Palestinians. 

Henry, Sondra & Taitz, Emily. Written Out of History: Our Jewish Foremothers. Fresh Meadows, N.Y., Biblio Press, 
Second Edition, 1983. 

Kurzman, Dan. Ben-Gurion: Prophet of Fire. New York, Touchstone Book, 1983. 

Laqueur, Walter. A History of Zionism. New York, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972. 

Lustik, Ian. Arabs in the Jewish State: Israel's Control of a National Minority. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1980. 

Meir, Golda. My Life. New York, G. P. Putman's Sons, 1975. 

Miari, Samir. The Arabs in Israel: A National Minority and Cheap Labor Force: A Split Labor Market Analysis. Unpub- 
lished Doctoral Dissertation, Loyola University of Chicago, 1986. 

Oz, Amos. In the land of Israel. San Diego, Calif., Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983. 

Shehadeh, Raja. Samed: Journal of a West Bank Palestinian. New York, Adama Books, 1984. 

Shipler, David K. Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in the Promised Land. New York, Times Books, 1986. 


Shulamith Koenig 

Shulamith Koenig commanded the Jerusalem area women's corps of the Israeli Army 
during the War of Independence at age 19. She is an industrial engineer, sculptor, and 
political activist. She was Secretary General of Ratz (Citizen Rights Movement) Party for six 
years, and was one of the founders of Peace Now. Now living in the United States she 
divides her time between sculpting and running a tax exempt organization, American 
Support for the Advancement of Civil Liberties in Israel which supports education and 
litigation for human rights violations and civil liberties in Israel and the Occupied Territo- 
ries. ASAC works in Israel with prominent human rights lawyers and former judges, and 
provides information in the United States. She initiated a Palestinian- Israeli art exhibition 
which recognizes a two-state solution. It opens in mid October at Cooper Union in New 
York and will tour U.S. cities during 1989. BBJ 

"There is always hope", 34 ' x 48" x 28" 

"Shall we talk about peace", 42" x 36" x 14" 

"Iwas born in East Jerusalem in the old Haddassah 
Hospital in a land saturated with historic memory and 
a search for human dignity. Social responsibility as the 
highest challenge was handed to me by my parents, — 
a litmus test of being a Jew. This inheritance engulfed 
my life and turned into a passion, a commitment and 
a moral obligation. It is this energy that works its way 
through my sculpture in which I try to revive found 
objects searching for meaning. 

I tried to create cross-fertilization between functional 
forms, color and abstract images. 

I work at integrating poetic expression and social 
consciousness into an object of art, through which a 
spiritual dimension can be shared". 








Esther Wierzbicki-Ziv 

"That which has been is that which shall be; 
and that which has been done is that which 
shall be done: and there is nothing new under 
the sun." 

— Ecclesiastes 1 :9 

Though I have never been kidnapped, I have 
been kidnapped. 

If not, how do I know what goes through the 
mind of a hostage, what a hostage thinks when 
the black blindfold is lifted from her eyes and for 
the first time she stands face to face with her 
kidnappers, what she sees before her eyes in 
those hours when they torture her, or worse, 
during the endless hours of waiting? 

I knew I was a likely candidate for kidnapping. 
That's why I ran away. 

I climbed up sand hills, I ran and ran. In the 
open streets I slowed down, bent low, crawled, 
flattened myself against the walls of ruined 
buildings, so the terrorists' fire wouldn't reach 
my ears. I was so afraid they would get me that 
I suspected everyone, especially those walking 
behind me, thought they were only there to trap 
me, to finally fulfill my destiny as a hostage. 

I did all I could to escape. To no end. Like a rat, 
I was trapped. 

I was kidnapped in a plane, I was caught on the 
street, I was stolen at night, near the Western 
Wall, in Beirut, in the territorial waters of Leba- 
non, at Heathrow Airport. 

My first kidnappers only wanted to shoot me; 
later ones had other goals. 

As in professional kidnappings, they covered my 
eyes with a black cloth, as if those whose eyes 
are covered don't see the world, as if those 
whose eyes are free can see it. 

Like Abraham dragging Isaac into the Land of 
Moriah, they dragged me to the public square for 
some sacred purpose. After all, you don't kid- 

nap people just like that. 

Perhaps I was kidnapped for the benefit of the 
disadvantaged, so that the unemployed would 
have jobs. Maybe my kidnappers wanted to fly 
the Palestinian flag on the world map, to write 
their organization into history, to shatter the 
apathy of the White House. In any case, I was 
kidnapped in the name of some ideology, or the- 
ology, maybe astrology. And maybe it was even 
for my own sake, for the homeland, that I was 

In some mysterious way, as if the news had been 
leaked to the press, people massed in the square 
to see the performance, and to see what would 
be done to me. What amazed me more than the 
general consent to kidnap me was seeing them 
all prepared to injure me. 

What are my parents doing there? 

To carry out their obligation, and as quickly as 
possible, they stripped me, but I was not 
ashamed of my nakedness. Their desire to cut 
my flesh was seeping deep inside me, and my 
exposed shoulders were ready for the knife. I 
could almost feel the touch of the blade on my 
skin, the burst of cold air, the piercing rays of the 
eyes that combed my body. A light stinging, 
really, barely touching, but everywhere. 

My father, a bit embarrassed, gave up quickly 
and left. 

Although I understood his confusion, I was very 
angry with him for not objecting, not setting up 
an underground, not trying to save me, his 
daughter, his only daughter. 

My mother, always one to get things done, was 
holding a knife in her hand to slice a little of my 
flesh, her flesh. I didn't resist. I knew that no 
righteous man would arrive on the scene a 
moment before the cutting, no Abraham would 
show up on his donkey, and no lamb be pro- 
vided for the offering. 

So let her cut, I thought, and it was clear to me 
as well that the deed had to be done as quickly 
as possible. But I wanted to shout and to wail 
and to plead for the integrity of my body, that 
mother not cut into my living flesh, that she not 
pierce my exposed shoulders, not hurt the sensi- 
tive spots. I wanted to pray, to kneel, to cry. 

Mother, don't do this to me, I almost shouted, 
and sealed my lips, no tears collecting at the 
corners of my eyes, not a single muscle twitch- 


Perhaps because I wasn't there, but, as the Satans 
and Liliths are wont to do, watched the cere- 
mony from another place, wondered, passed 
from illusion to illusion, understood the kidnap- 
pers' motives and knew that I would do the 
same, were I in their place. 

I recall another kidnapping now. For I've been 
kidnapped for as long as I can remember. A 
hostage, daughter of a hostage. My mother, too, 
was kidnapped once, when I was a little girl. 

The Snow Queen swept her off, with Kay and 
with the storm. But I, unlike Gerda, did not run 
after my mother, did not look for her, only cried. 
How I cried. My crying alerted the neighbors, 
and I told them that the storm had kidnapped 
my mother. And as I wailed and gave them the 
details of the kidnapping, mother returned, 
carrying baskets full of chickens and vegetables. 

Perhaps the Snow Queen had had a change of 

Not only mother was kidnapped. In our family, 
kidnapping is inherited. I too was kidnapped 
then. Two people put me, a little girl, into a big 
burlap sack and tied it with a black ribbon. 
From outside, or maybe from inside the sack, 
through the holes in the cloth, I saw how they 
dragged me all the way down the yellow corri- 
dors of my childhood, and even then, though it 
was my first kidnapping, the feeling was famil- 
iar. Maybe that's what Ecclesiastes meant when 
he said "There is nothing new under the sun." 

Because I have experienced all and undergone 
everything, and I have a right and even a duty to 
justify every evil and any cut in the living flesh. 
And just as I was kidnapped and numbered 
among the victims, so did I kidnap and kill and 
also take possession, and for all this the dreams 
must take the blame, for allowing me to observe 
what I was doing from a distance. Like God 
looking down on His creatures, like a demon or 
the Devil, I wink behind my shoulders at what is 
done to me. 

The dreams have accustomed me to regard the 
world with apathy and to see what happens in 
the jails and the mental hospitals, to watch a 
youth shot on the West Bank and a woman on 
the pyre in India (she must have dreamt about 
it), and continue to live my life and dream my 
dreams, for I've already been called to account 
for it all, and paid the price, and I washed my 
hands in dreams. It is they that recorded in me 
what was and what will be under the sun. 

But the dreams speak falsehood. 

Esther Wierzbicki-Ziv was born in 1947 in Silesia, Poland, in 
the aftermath of the Second World War. In 1957 her family 
immigrated to Israel. Following army service she studied 
comparative literature and philosophy at Tel Aviv Univer- 
sity. She has taught literature in high school and edited for 
the afternoon daily Ma'ariv. 

Since 1985 Ziv has concentrated on writing prose. The story 
"What Ecclesiastes Meant" is from the collection The Tumult 
of Shimeck's Death, soon to be published in Hebrew. She has 
also written a gestalt play called The Name That Will Protect 
Me in the Next Holocaust. 

She and her son live in Jerusalem. 

(Translation from the Hebrew by Marsha Pomerantz) 


WaveA in the. d<n>QAX 
Mo6cuc6 in the. 6and 
SzaAcking faon. the. hand 
Looking fan. a cjiiut 
U//10 mold tfeed the Vuitli 
Tq tiiz pozt in the duAt? 

S VKm 















Shulamit Lapid 

Miri put on yellow pants that she had bought in 
Jerusalem; they made her look like an inverted 
mushroom. Miri chattered and laughed and her 
sister said to me, "She will listen to you, tell her. 
That, after all, is what cousins are for." I replied, 
"What is good for us is not always good for 

I thought of their mother who had eaten a prune 
and swallowed the stone and needed an opera- 
tion. The sight of Aunt Sarah lying in the oper- 
ating-theatre with all her guts exposed and the 
surgeons hunting among them for the stone 
sealed the fate of my daughter who decided that 
she really did not want to become a doctor. 
Fateful decisions have come about for lesser 
reasons than a prune-stone. 

After the operation Aunt Sarah did not return 
home. She lay in the hospital a long time as the 
wound was slow to heal. Afterward, she was 
sent to a convalescent home, and from there she 
was transferred to a geriatric institution. And 
there, after long years of anger, suffering and re- 
sentment, she again found contentment. 

Her daughters tried to explain to her where she 
was and when but did not succeed in reaching 
her. They brought her sons-in-law who spoke 
slowly and loudly as if she had gone deaf. They 
brought her the grandsons, who had been 
drafted, before they left so that they could also 
bring the great-grandchildren. She smiled at 
them all a sweet smile, her skin pink, her 
wrinkles gone. She asked suddenly about Reb 
Shmelke, although there was nobody left who 
could even tell us who he was. 

Her forgetfulness upset her daughters particu- 
larly, because, if she forgot them, then they were 
not the most important people in their mother's 
life. But I thought that the years in Bergen- 
Belsen had been wiped away, as well as fifty 
years of a bad marriage, and other things that 
turned her into an old woman with memories. 
My Aunt Sarah was not a wise woman. She was 
a foolish child and as time passed she became a 
foolish old woman, as is usually the case. I don't 
believe that old age gives wisdom to people, 
perhaps a little caution. If she had been cau- 
tious, she would not have swallowed the stone. 
She would have been deprived of one year in her 
life in which she gained peace of mind. 

She enjoyed sitting in the garden, listening to the 
wind stirring the leaves of the trees and watch- 
ing the changing shapes of the shadows cast 
through the window. She did other things 
characteristic of Chinese sages. Her happiness 
sprang from within herself, unconnected to the 
happiness of the people around her. Her daugh- 
ters wanted to bring her back to reality. They 
thought that it would help her to learn some 
hobby, dominoes or pottery. The grandsons, 
who had returned from Beirut, asked what was 
the point, if life was good for her like this, be- 
cause she looked to them very old and living 
only in the present. 

And while the debate was still going on Aunt 
Sarah passed away as she sat on the commode 
facing the white tiles in the bathroom. What she 
saw on the wall we don't know. She died with a 
smile on her face. Miri said that what made her 
happy would not have made anyone else happy. 
Miri went to Jerusalem and bought herself those 

Translated from Hebrew by Philip Simpson 

Shulamit Lapid has served in the Israeli Embassies in Paris 
and London, and is the author of books of short stories, 
novels and plays, published in Hebrew, French, and English. 
She lives in Tel-Aviv. 




— - . . - 


Dedicated to Ebba Haslund 
my sister from Norway 

She looked at me with wise 

bluebell eyes 

and told me Grimm 

had it all wrong 

for it was the grandmother 

who gobbled up the bad wolf 

and not the other way round. 

He had it all wrong, 

for grandmothers you see 

are very strong. 


(From An Israeli Soldier's Yom Kippur War 

The night creeps long 
funeral throng 
darkens. Memories rush 

and flood 

Blossoming list of dead 

thumps red. 
Every name pins mind 
With whizzing missiles, 

Cursed, cursed war 

In jeep on Golan Heights 
loneliest I have ever been, 
I watch skeletons of tanks 
Crowned with names of friends. 
Sinister row, black graves 
fresh bodies - old smell. 
Cursed, cursed war 

It doesn't look at all like wars in films this war, 

Here we do not get a chance to shoot, or wave a 


Shrieking shells, hyena lightning 

Pour on us, and we run backwards 

or forwards 
Or to the side, 
And some are saved 

and some are not, 
Not all, not always 
But always cursing, 

This cursed, cursed war 

In an English centurion 

Holding Belgian guns, 

We watch two American-made airplanes 

Shot down by Russian-made missiles. 

I cannot hate the Syrian on the other side 

Who holds a French gun and shoots Soviet Sams; 

We are toy soldiers of shopkeepers 

Who want to sell — 

Selling us, in this 

Cursed, cursed war 

God, let it stop, let it end, 

Let the nightmare end! 

Cursing is the only shelter 

We can creep into, not to crumble 

Before thoughts in the dark. 

Cursed are those who force me to be here 

Cursed be this cursed war! 




I wait for the day 

blossoming as a mimosa, 

when half the world's presidents 

will be women 

with hair flowing cosily 

around every cry. 

And the sun will shine 
on all mortals 
with equal golden rays 
in every green field, 
every printed book 
every human look. 


Peace for me is a flowing golden river, 

students fresh from school 

with minds 

full of pockets of hope 

Not after they witnessed 
their friends' brains 
blown white veined 
on the sands, still thinking. 

Peace for me 

is to visit 

Kadreya in Egypt, and 

the spicy house in Midan Ismaileya in Cairo 

now the Square of Freedom, 

where I was bom, and evicted. 

To place again my open palm 
on the Sphinx's paw, 
and check if now I'm as tall 
as a Pyramid stone. 

Peace for me 

is all this, 

and so much more — 

when I look at you our golden children 

and feel the fifth war 

pinching the center of my heart. 

Dr. Ada Aharoni will be visiting scholar in the De- 
partment of English at the University of Toronto in 
the early autumn and then will teach comparative 
literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. Her book on 
Saul Bellow: To Haifa and Back is being published 
by SUNY. She has published books of poems, 
From the Pyramids to Mount Carmel and Metal and 
Violets, and a novel, The Second Exodus which com- 
bines her experiences with those of other Jews 
leaving Egypt at the time of Statehood. She 
integrates pacifism and feminism in her poetry 
with strong images that challenge and enrich our 

She has been vitally involved in peace work in 
HaGesher, The Bridge, an organization of Jewish 
and Arab women for coexistence and peace. 


Magdalena Hafez 

Magdalena Hafez is a potter who has a coffee shop, pottery 
shop, and studio together near the old city of Jerusalem. 
You can see pottery beautifully displayed as you have soup 
or pastry on ceramic tables which she designed or you can 
take your coffee upstairs, as I did, and watch her work. She 
works very hard and seriously on her pottery, noting in her 
notebook the results of each of her firings so as to constantly 
learn from experiments and fortuitous events. She is also 
very active in peace/dialogue groups and in women's 
groups that deal with domestic violence. She is president of 
the professional group for potters in Israel. Representing 
the immense variety of backgrounds I found in the women 
of Israel, Magdalena is the daughter of a German Protestant 
clergyman, is married to an Israeli Jew, and has a daugher 
in the Israeli Army. I interviewed Magdalena in her studio/ 
shop in Jerusalem, recording our conversation on audio 
tape. Her words which follow have been edited from her 
answers to my questions. BBJ 

The idea of a combined studio, pottery shop and 
coffeehouse is a very old dream of mine. I 
thought of it when I was young, just starting to 
do pottery. It took over twenty years because I 
wanted to have the shop, coffee shop, and work- 
shop together in the center of town. But in the 
center of town they never had the industrial elec- 
tricity which was needed to run the tractor-sized 
pottery wheels we used to have. Today, we have 
small pottery wheels which run on normal 
current. Also, there are better insulating materi- 
als, so it is possible to fit the kiln and wheel in 
an affordable space in the center of town. There 
are also more customers in the center of town. I 
hate it when I go to galleries and shows where I 
want to have a leisurely look, sit down, and take 
my time — not just look and then have to go. So I 
decided to create such a space. 

I did it two years ago when the children grew up 
and we could have a smaller house. We sold the 
second floor of our house and with the money 


we bought this two-story building. We didn't 
have to borrow money to do it. Other potters 
and artists/crafts people have now opened 
studios together with shops in the center of town 
so artists are no longer isolated in their studios. 
We now have maybe three places in Jerusalem, 
but there is nothing like this in Haifa or Tel 
Aviv. And no one has a place like mine. This is 
unique. It's easier and much nicer. Now, every- 
thing that comes from the kiln goes downstairs 
to the shop, where everybody looks at it. It's 
good to hear the praise of the people who like 
my work. Here, I get more feedback on my 
work instead of placing it in the galleries and ex- 
hibitions. I still sell to galleries and to other 
shops , but most of the work I do here I sell in the 

This area was as central as we could get. It was 
old and run down on the edge of the center of 
the city which is a couple of blocks from the old 
city. After we started here — my husband runs 
the restaurant — we attracted others. A woman 
who weaves and knits is next door. Slowly, the 
street has been developing. A Russian restaurant 
opened and we have a gallery upstairs. So the 
street has developed nicely, there is much move- 
ment here. 

The exhibition I am working on now is based on 
inspirations from Greece and raku, which is a 
special ceramic firing technique from Japan. I've 
worked quite a lot with it in recent years and I 
love it very much. I'm almost ready to do an 
exhibition with just the pots with beautiful 
glazes. Last year I was in Greece for two weeks. 
It was from my visit there that I got the theme 
and the inspiration for this exhibition. When I 
translate life into ceramic and raku, I take it a bit 
less seriously. A sense of humor is important. I 
have columns, like a lot of trees all different, big, 
small, heavy ones, tall, all different kinds, and on 
top of the capital there are little people that are 
taking sunbaths. 

The sketches come out very funny. I think life is 
serious enough so I want to do something not so 
serious. I do big bowls like the Mediterranean 
Sea and I put little islands inside. All these are 
inspirations from Greece. I expected to see a lot 
of seafood. But, when I went to Greece, there 
was no seafood. Meat is much cheaper there. 
They have stands on the street where one buys 
and eats shashlik like we eat falafil here. It is a 
daily food and so I do big plates with shashlik 
on them. Since the seafood was just in my 
imagination, I do imaginary fish aquariums, with 
a lot of imaginary fishes and put them around, 
hanging them from iron posts. These are not 
real fishes because they were just in my imagina- 
tion about the seafood I expected to find there. 
The real seafood that I saw in Greece was very 


expensive but not very good. The other inspira- 
tions which will be part of the exhibit will be 
archeological pieces, mountains with ruins on 
top and the big egg-head people. The Greek 
people once had very big heads. So I do very 
big egg heads, the great, old Greek people. And 
chess games. 

In the shop, there are some large bowls with 
sunbathers around a swimming pool. They are 
old things that I started doing six years ago, but I 
still do them — I love them very much. It was my 
first way out, after more than twenty years of 
doing dishes and mugs, I wanted to do other 
things. It's very hard to get away from using the 
wheel. A lot of potters leave the wheel, they 
have very good hands, but if they don't have the 
minds, the things they make come out just 
kitsch. At first, instead of doing big, awkward 
things, I started with small funny things. I put 
all my little dreams in a bowl, made on the 
wheel. So I kept the wheel, I didn't disturb the 
surroundings from the wheel. I didn't disturb 
the bowl. I put little children in the bowl. 
They're sitting and talking or throwing stones, 
but nobody gets hurt. There are people walking 
in the woods without being afraid. It is some- 
thing of a paradox. When you are a child (or 
when I was a child), I was afraid of a lot of 
things. Other things frighten me today. 

So I put the things in the bowls. I don't know if 
you have a word in English, that the world is 
still okay. I see all the problems around in my 
work with battered women in Jerusalem and my 
work in Arab and Jewish joint projects. It's not 
that I close my eyes and think everything is 
beautiful and nice. One can put oneself in a 
place in imagination where it's okay. My bowls 
reflect my little dreams. These bowls, you can 
put them on the table, you can hang them on the 

Also I did an exhibition with drawers, every- 
thing got a drawer. It was also a transition step 
from one phase to another, so I made everything 
that I had made to that point with a drawer, e.g., 
the pomegranates, the egg box, a circus tent, 
everything got a box. A lot of tourists are com- 
ing to Israel, looking around and saying, "beauti- 
ful landscape, beautiful this and beautiful that, 
nice people," but they don't see anything that's 
going on here really. 

They say, "How beautiful is the Negev, how 
beautiful is the desert" and just three kilometers 
away they are passing the most awful jail. No- 
body even looks at it or even the special old 
stones with the trees and cacti. Many times I 
heard from people, "It's so beautiful the old 
sabra cacti and the old stones" I want to tell 
them: You have to open a door and there you 

find something. It's not just a beautiful land- 
scape — it is the remains of an Arab village 
bulldozed by the Israelis. You have to look more 

You can open it and close it; you can put some- 
thing in it and you can take something out. You 
can forget it for the next century, then you can 
open it again, you can find it by accident. If you 
open it when you are cleaning, or looking for 
something else, you find something. I like this. I 
like boxes. I like drawers... There's a landscape 
and there's a drawer so you have to look more. 
You could see what's inside or what's behind the 

Magdalena at work 
in her studio. 

My next show opens in the middle of September 
(1987). I'm also going to be an officer in a ce- 
ramic organization. I have to take it over be- 
cause the old man who started it is too old. He 
began the association 25 years ago. As time 
went by, everything went down a little bit, a lot 
of people dropped it, so now, I have to take it 
and develop it in the right direction. Now I'm 
very busy because I have to learn all the mate- 
rial. We are on a jury for the group exhibition so 
we are looking forward to doing a lot of group 
exhibitions on different themes. The themes will 
illustrate all the different techniques that all the 
artists are working on. We have the exhibitions 
every half year, because a lot of ceramists in this 
country cannot do one-man or one-woman 
shows. We also have to look for different galler- 
ies. We now have six different places where we 
can have the shows and a plan for the next three 
years. Everybody can work on a special theme 
that's close to her whether in two-dimensions or 
three-dimensions, painting on three-dimensional 
objects, or a tea service, ceramics for the garden, 
architecture things, using special techniques as 
inspiration. So I hope that we will bring the 
quality up again, and also the group work and 

that there will be more teamwork. 

This is very important because I think that when 
the quality of the association goes up we can get 
a center for the potters association. Right now 
we don't have a center. We will be more profes- 
sional and get a professional administration, and 
this can come after we improve the quality. So 
that's the project for the next three years. 

Since I have had the workshop over the coffee- 
house a lot of potters come to me and ask for 
advice. I can see the whole line of their work 
and they can see what is new of mine. It's very 
rewarding that they are coming and asking. I 
like to give information because I think that 
everybody can get something, maybe a more 
interesting idea or a completely new idea so it's 
good for them and I learn from it too. 

This exchange helps all of us. I think it's very 
good to help each other and to be open with the 
material and with the experience. Maybe this 
attitude comes from the time I taught for five 
years in the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design 
(the finest art school in Israel) which was a time 
that I liked to see the continuity of other people's 
work. I also think that it is very good feedback: 
"I got this from Magdalena, I got that from 
Magdalena." It's much better than to keep 
everything for yourself. 


women work. Maybe it's something in the 
character of the women. I'm not sure about it. I 
think that mothers sit much more with the 
children, explaining how things work, more than 
the fathers. There are many more women pot- 
ters around than men potters. In Israel also most 
of the teachers are women and not men. Because 
of low salary no men will go and study educa- 
tion to become teachers. The money he would 
bring home cannot support a whole family. It's 
the second salary in the family, so the woman 
teaches. And she's at home in the middle of the 
day when the children come home. All the other 
professions you have to work until three or five 
o'clock in the afternoon. Nothing is arranged 
here for families so that women can be equal at 
work. Also the same happens with potters. 
Ceramics and pottery is very strenuous work 
physically so men and boys are better suited but 
very few men choose this field. You have to 
invest so much time. Until you sell something 
and you see the money it's nothing. So only 
women, maybe, can play with it. It's a salary by 
the side, it's a profession by the side. I think 
those are two points that explain why so many 
women are potters and not men. 

Ten people can do much more than one person 
by herself alone, if she has this open mind or this 
way of thinking. Also with the raku I work with 
other potters. And we never would work to- 
gether if I didn't push in this direction. Now 
with two other potters we have built two kilns in 
Israel. It's a different way and attitude. I see 
how it works and I think it is very good. 

This kind of sharing and working together, with 
less competition, tends to be typical of the way 

Ruins atop mountains, columns, eggheads 



Barbara Conant 

Agassi, Judith Buber. Comparing the work attitudes of women and men. Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1982. 
This study continues Women on the job. 

Agassi, Judith Buber. Women on the job, the attitudes of women to their work. Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1979. 
The views of women in Massachusetts, West Germany and Israel are compared. 

Bernstein, Deborah. The struggle for equality: urban women workers in pre-state Israeli society. New York, Praeger, 1987. 

Burning air and a clear mind: contemporary Israeli women poets. Edited by Myra Glazer; illustrated by Shirley Faktor. Athens, Ohio, Ohio Univer- 
sity Press, 1981. 

Datan, Nancy. A time to reap: the middle age of women in five Israeli subcultures. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981. 

Fuchs, Esther. Israeli mythogynies: women in contemporary Hebrew fiction. Albany, State University of New York Press, 1987. 

Gerson, Menachem. family, women and socialization in the kibbutz. Lexington, Mass., Lexington Books, 1978. 

Ginat, Joseph. Women in Muslim rural society: Status and role in family and community. New Brunswick, N.J., Transaction Books, 1982. 
A study of the social conditions of the rural Muslim women in Israel. 

Graham-Brown, Sarah. Images of women: the portrayal of women in photography of the Middle East, 1860-1950. London, Quartet, 1988. 
(This book would compliment the Waagenaar title.) 

Hazelton, Lesley. Israeli women: The reality behind the myths. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1977. 

Layish, Aharon. Marriage, divorce and succession in the Druze family: a study based on decisions of Druze arbitrators and religious courts in Israel and the 
Golan Heights. Leiden, Brill, 1982. 

Layish, Aharon. Women and Islamic law in a non-Muslim state: a study based on decisions of the shark courts in Israel. New York, Wiley, 1975. 
The legal status of women is considered from the point of view of religious and legal court decisions. 

Lytle, Elizabeth Edith. Women in Israel: a selected bibliography. Monhcello, 111., Vance Bibliographies, 1979. 

Mihayl, Marion. The changing status of women in the Middle East. Greeley, Colorado, Colorado State College, Museum of Anthropology, 1969. 

Minai, Naila. Women in Islam: tradition and transition in the Middle East._ New York, Seaview Boos, 1981. 
(An overview of the changing role of Muslim women?) 

Rein, Natalie. Daughters of Rachel: Women in Israel. New York, Penguin, 1980. 
Considers the social conditions of women in Israel. 

Sexual equality, the Israeli kibbutz tests the theories, (by) Michal Palgi... (et al); with the assistance of Lucy Maloney Jones and Susan Lyn Sklar; 
preface by Betty Friedan. Norwood, Penn., Norwood Editions, 1983. 

Spiro, Melford E. Gender and culture: kibbutz women revisited. New York, Schocken Books, 1980. 

Stendel, Ori. The minorities in Israel: trends in the development of the Arab and Druze communities, 1948-1973. Jerusalem, Israel Economist, 1973. 

Stern, Geraldine. Israeli women speak out. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1979. 
A collection of biographies. 

Tiger, Lionel. Women in the kibbutz. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975. 

Waagenaar, Sam. Women of Israel. New York, Schocken Books, 1961. 
Photographs of the women of Israel. 

Women and the family in the Middle East: new voices of change. Edited by Elizabeth Warnock Fernea. Austin, University of Texas Press, 1984. 

Women's worlds, from the new scholarship. Edited by Marilyn Safir... (et al); in cooperation with the Society for the Psychological Study of Social 
Issues. New York, Praeger, 1985. 

Yuval-Davis, Nira. Israeli women and men: divisions behind the unity. London, Change International Reports, 1982. 

Zamir, Aviva. Mothers and daughters: interviews with kibbutz women. Norwood, Penn., Norwood Editions, 1986. 

Barbara Conant is I lead, Education and Materials Center, University Library at Governors State University. 




A soviet journalist, looking through a copy of 
this magazine, stopped at the announcement of 
future issues to ask (with what I imagined to be 
a touch of suspicion) "Why are you doing a spe- 
cial issue on Israel?" (Was she feeling for the 
political slant that we might represent?) "I have 
a colleague," I told her through our interpreter, 
"an American professor of psychology, Barbara 
Jenkins, who is a Jew and who spent her sabbati- 
cal leave in Jerusalem. While there she became 
aware of the complexity of the issues faced by 
the peoples of the Middle East and of the great 
diversity of opinions and perspectives as well as 
the vast ethnic and religious and cultural variety. 
She also discovered that she did not always 
agree with or admire the actions of the Knesset 
and that she sometimes sympathized with the 
Palestinians. Our magazine is interested in 
women and we try to understand them as clearly 
as we can, to present them as honestly as we can, 
and to respect and celebrate them." 

This seemed to satisfy her, although the true 
results of my Russian journey will only be 
known when the articles that have been prom- 
ised begin to come in, for it is in the arduous 

process of hammering out an issue that commu- 
nication gets firmly grounded and true mutual 
understanding begins to grow. 

Fifteen days in May is not long to take a measure 
of any country, far less one as immense as the 
Soviet Union, with ten time zones stretching 
across its seven thousand miles from Europe to 
the Pacific Ocean. Nevertheless, a few impres- 
sions from this eager and curious traveler: 

The sight of birch groves that surround the 
airport surprise the first time visitor: whole 
forests, nothing but graceful white birch trees, 
they evoke immediately some old associations. 
What? a tenor singing a haunting folk song on 
an old record from World War II by the Red 
Army Chorus? The woods are quiet and deep. 
The second surprise is that the streets are broad 
and empty. To be approaching one of the great 
world capitals, Moscow, in late evening, along a 
deserted boulevard, feels eerie. 

At the same time, I felt a deep throb of turbulent 
energy. This is a nation in such rapid flux that 
the surface quiet is misleading, for it is only the 
appearance of calm while underneath there is a 
process going on that is almost a convulsion. 

Mikhail Gorbachev 

A few quotations from Mikhail Gorbachev are 
needed here. We Americans saw lots of photo- 
graphs of the President and Mrs. Reagan in 
Russia, we heard many fragments of his words. . 
but we might have been better served if the 
networks had seen fit to give us more of what 
we don't already know — in other words, more 
information and direct coverage of the Gor- 
bachev revolution that goes by the names of 
perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (open- 

I picked up an English-language pamphlet in an 
airport waiting room in Uzbekistan, "Using the 
Potential of Cooperatives for Furthering Per- 


estroika" by Mikhail Gorbachev. This was a 
speech he gave to the 4th AU-Union Congress of 
Collective Farmers on March 23, 1988. 

Perestroika is to become a real and effec- 
tive force for moving society to a qualita- 
tively new state, a force which gives full 
freedom to human initiative and activity. 
Everything we are doing today opens up a 
wide expanse for every person, making it 
possible for him to reveal all his talents, 
gifts and abilities, to show ingenuity and 
resourcefulness in a creative way. 

As regards cooperatives, comrades, admin- 
istrative methods are against their very 
nature. Commanding them about, issuing 
peremptory instructions, and introducing 
ill-considered bans can only dry up and 
over-organize the business, ultimately com- 
promising or even destroying it altogether. 

First, we should irreversibly switch all 
elements of the agroindustrial complex to 
profit-and-loss accounting, self-repayment, 
self-financing and economic methods of 
management. We should learn to take 
stock of the resources and use them effi- 
ciently. Any income should be earned. 

Second. It is essential to change priorities. 
Priorities in spending should be allocated 
to roads and transport, storage facilities 
and packaging, processing and distribu- 
tion, and to the rationalization of consump- 
tion. We simply cannot lose if we invest in 
housing, social and cultural establishments 

and in training and upgrading skills. 

In short, what is proposed is not just some 
patching up or tinkering with the economic and 
political system; what is proposed is a far-rang- 
ing thorough going revolution. It is a truly 
remarkable historical event. As one of our 
Russian acquaintances remarked, "He is the first 
intelligent and educated leader we've had since 
Lenin." The intellectuals, the professionals, the 
artists, applaud the reforms, and seem to feel 
breathless with eagerness. Change in the direc- 
tion of artistic and intellectual freedom cannot 
come fast enough for them, it would seem. 
Some go "too far" or "too fast" and get cut back. 
At the same time, old party conservatives, ap- 
paratchiks who assumed that their appointments 
were for life, are threatened and resistant. As for 
factory workers and other proletarian citizens, 
they are too tired and harried to care for remote 
promises (what they want now is more con- 
sumer goods and services, better housing, more 
readily available food supplies) and the intellec- 
tual ferment misses them, too, for as Yevtush- 
enko said in his televised interview, "Freedom of 
speech means nothing to a person who has 
nothing to say." 

The distance from the old dogmas and rhetoric 
of Marxism to Gorbachev's contemporary 
thought is staggering. 

After returning home I received from Soviet Life 
the documents and materials of the USSR-USA 
Summit in Moscow, May 29 - June 2, 1988, con- 
taining all the formal speeches, answers to press 



Moscow, May 29 -June 2, 1988 



questions, and informal comments during the 
walks about the Kremlin and Red Square. 
Again, here are some quotations from General 
Secretary Gorbachev on the subjects of arms 
control, international interdependence, and 
glasnost defined. 

I cannot agree with those who think that 
there is no point in striving for a nuclear- 
free world. 

A peaceful future for mankind can be 
guaranteed not by "nuclear deterrance," 
but by a balance of reason and goodwill 
and by a system of universal security. 

And it is here that we would like to stress 
the significance of the truth we have 
awoken to, namely that it is no longer 
possible to settle international disputes by 
force of arms. 

As far as we know, most Americans, just 
like us, are eager to get rid of the demon of 
nuclear war. But they are increasingly con- 
cerned, just like us and like all the people 
on Earth, about the danger of an ecological 
catastrophe. This threat, too, can only be 
warded off by joint effort. 

Yes, all of us really do understand our 
dependence on one another better and feel 
that we live in an interrelated world and 
that all of us are inseparable parts of the 
single present-day civilization. 

For the sake of our mutual understanding, 
please do not try to teach us to live accord- 
ing to American rules — it is altogether 
useless. And I repeat that, for our part, we 
do not intend to suggest our values to the 

Let each side live in its own way, respect- 
ing each other's choice and voluntarily 
exchanging the fruits of our labor in all the 
spheres of human activity. 

As for glasnost, it and freedom of speech 
are, of course, interconnected. However, 
these are not identical things. I would put 
it this way: while freedom of speech is 
indispensable for glasnost, we see glasnost 
as a broader phenomenon. For us it is not 
just the right of every citizen to openly say 
what he or she thinks about all social and 
political questions, but also the duty of the 
ruling Party and all bodies of authority and 
administration to ensure openness in 

decision-making, be accountable for their 
actions, act on criticism, and consider 
advice and recommendations from the 
shop floor, public organizations and indi- 

Glasnost, as we see it, accentuates an 
environment allowing citizens to effectively 
participate in discussing all of the country's 
affairs, in elaborating and making decisions 
that affect the interests of society and in 
monitoring the implementation of these 

We are ready to work. We don't want to 
waste any time. We shall continue to 
work. It's up to the US side. 

Will this bold and brave revolution succeed? The 
General Secretary remarks that he is steering his 
ship of state through stormy seas, and we believe 
it. The obstacles, within his party and his people 
are formidable. As Saul Bellow says, "The princi- 
pal characteristic of our existence is suspense. 
Nobody-nobody at all knows how it will end." 

Both of the publications cited are available from 
the Novosti Press Publishing House, 1706 18th 
Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009 



Winter 1989 Women in Management- Guest Editor 

Marily Fischbach 

Spring-Summer 1989 Women in Photography 

Guest Editor Patricia Gardner 

Fall 1989 Empowering Women of Color- Guest 

Editor Loretta J. Ross 

Winter 1990 Soviet Women- Guest Editor Sharon 


Spring- Summer 1990- GAIA- Re weaving the 

Web of Life. (Guest Editor sought) 

Footnotes and references cited in the article by 
Barbara Wallston in our previous issue (Vol. 9, 
No. 1) were inadvertently omitted. Readers who 
wish to examine them may write to the editorial 
office of this magazine for a complete list. We 
regret this oversight. 

Tikkun (te*kiin) . . . 

to heal, repair and transform the world. 

All the rest is commentary. 

Tikkun, A bimonthly Jewish Critique of Politics, Culture and Society, Oakland, CA. 


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